Russian foreign ministry calls for Gaza ceasefire to allow in food and medicine

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s foreign ministry urged Israel on Thursday to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza to allow in food and medicine and said it was unacceptable that what it called the “indiscriminate” bombing of the Gaza Strip was causing so many civilian casualties.

Moscow issued the statement after Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov spoke to Hussein Al-Sheikh, secretary general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), by phone.

Israel said earlier on Thursday there would be no humanitarian exceptions to its siege of the Gaza Strip until all its hostages were freed, after the Red Cross pleaded for fuel to be allowed in to prevent overwhelmed hospitals from “turning into morgues”.

The Russian foreign ministry said Bogdanov and Al-Sheikh had agreed on the need for a ceasefire and for the opening of human corridors to deliver food and medicine to Gaza’s population.

Both also agreed that water and electricity supplies to Gaza should be restored, it said.

“The unacceptability of the indiscriminate bombardment leading to numerous civilian casualties was emphasised,” the Russian statement said.

“The goal of preventing an exodus from the Gaza Strip, which should become part of an independent Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, was (also) emphasised.”

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Gareth Jones)