Russia calls for restraint in volatile Middle East

By Thomson Reuters Apr 11, 2024 | 5:51 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Thursday called for all countries in the Middle East to show restraint and prevent the region slipping into complete chaos after tensions were raised by Israel’s suspected airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1.

The United States and its allies believe major missile or drone strikes by Iran or its proxies against military and government targets in Israel are imminent, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. and Israeli security sources.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there had been no requests for Russia to mediate between Israel and Iran.

“Right now it is very important for everyone to maintain restraint in order not to lead to a complete destabilisation of the situation in the region, which does not exactly shine with stability and predictability,” Peskov said.

“We call on all countries in the region to exercise restraint.”

Peskov said the suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate was a violation of all principles of international law.

Israel, which launched a war in the Gaza Strip six months ago against Iran-backed Hamas, has not confirmed it was behind the airstrike in Damascus, but the Pentagon has said it was.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has vowed revenge against Israel while Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah said the Israeli attack was a “turning point”. Iran-backed Hezbollah has said it supports Iran’s right to “punish” Israel.

Russia has close ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and a number of other countries across the Middle East.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Heinrich)