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Russia condemns Israel airstrikes in Syria as ‘unlawful’

Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Ryabkov [File photo]
Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Ryabkov [File photo]

Russia has condemned Israel’s airstrikes in Syria as “unlawful,” labelling its targeting of alleged Iranian targets illegitimate.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said yesterday that Israeli airstrikes on Syria are “unlawful” and “unfounded”, but simultaneously stressed that Israel’s security is very important to Moscow.

“For us, Israel’s security is of paramount importance, but having said this, I cannot say that Israel’s unlawful attacks on targets in Syria – including against targets linked in some way to Iran – are legitimate or justified,” Ryabkov told reporters.

He added: “We condemn [the airstrikes], these are illegal raids, but that does not mean, once again, that we should not care about Israel’s security.”

READ: Iran warns Israel against further air strikes in Syria

The Russian diplomat explained that he had made a similar statement on this topic to CNN, which was subsequently modified “for malicious purposes, and had been distorted by a number of media outlets”.

Just yesterday, Israel fired four missiles near a demolished hospital and an army observation post in Quneitra province, near Syria’s border with Israel. A source from the Syrian army said there had been only material damage caused by the strike, but the Israeli military refused to comment on the incident.

Although Israel maintains and official policy of non-intervention in the Syrian civil war – which has ravaged the country since 2011 – it regularly conducts airstrikes against what it claims to be Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah positions across the country. This has contributed to a souring of Israeli-Russian relations, particularly in the latter half of 2018 after a Russian jet was accidentally downed by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles after it was seemingly mistaken for an Israeli plane.

READ: Russia refuses to move embassy to Jerusalem

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