Russia has been accused of shameless hypocrisy after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov branded Israel’s military operation in Gaza a “breach of international law”, in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
Lavrov made his remarks in an interview yesterday with Belarusian state news agency Belta, during which he outlined his concerns about the escalating conflict in the Middle East.
Referring to the Hamas attack on October 7, Lavrov, a close Putin ally, said: “While we condemn terrorism, we categorically disagree that you can respond to terrorism by violating the norms of international humanitarian law, including indiscriminately using force against targets where civilians are known to be present, including hostages that have been taken.”
Lavrov also called for a ceasefire in order to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza – but for Alicia Kearns MP, chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee, his words rang hollow, given Russia’s “special military operation”.
She told Express.co.uk: “Russia is playing a cynical game.
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“Guilty of egregious war crimes, they voted against a humanitarian pause at the UN Security Council earlier this week, vetoing alongside China what was otherwise a unanimous agreement for a pause in fighting to let aid in.
“Their efforts are nothing more than a PR stunt for them – they murdered more Ukrainians as they made this statement.”
Referring specifically to the events of February 24, 2022 and everything which had happened since, Ms Kearns claimed this was a “flagrant breach of international law” itself – as highlighted by many at the tie.
She added: “It was not self-defence or any of the nonsense they try and fail to claim.”
A total of eight Russian citizens are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas gunmen during the attacks earlier this month.
Speaking on state-controlled news channel Rossiya-1 yesterday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We are doing our best on all the tracks.
“First, this is political work in international formats, in the United Nations, to lobby the most important thing.
“Namely, to cease fire, stop violence, to achieve what is generally called de-escalation.”
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Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks, during which at least 1,400 Israelis were killed, Putin himself notably stopped short of condemning them outright.
Instead he opted to point his finger at the West, saying: “I think that many people will agree with me that this is a vivid example of the failure of United States policy in the Middle East.”
Russia has been accused of multiple human rights abuses since Putin ordered his full-scale invasion.
An investigation earlier this year claimed Russia built at least 20 “genocidal” torture centres in Ukraine’s Kherson region in a bid to destroy the country’s identity, with waterboarding and electric shocks commonplace.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Wayne Jordash KC, an British barrister and the Managing Partner of Global Rights Compliance, who is leading the specially assembled Mobile Justice Team, said: “Putin’s plan is to occupy Ukraine, subjugate the Ukrainian population to Russian rule and destroy Ukrainian identity.
“This plan is becoming clearer as the evidence of war crimes proliferates and as our investigations progress.”
He added: “The mass torture chambers, financed by the Russian State are not random but rather part of a carefully thought out and financed blueprint with a clear objective to eliminate Ukrainian national and cultural identity.
“The torture centres are the tip of the iceberg in Russia’s inherently criminal plan to subjugate or destroy Ukrainians.”
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