Kremlin cagey on Iran missile warning, calls for restraint in Middle East

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 5:17 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin refused to confirm or deny on Wednesday if Moscow had been forewarned of Iran’s strikes against Israel, but urged all sides in the Middle East to step back from conflict.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged all sides to refrain from action that would trigger a new confrontation which he warned would be fraught with catastrophic consequences for the region.

Asked on Wednesday if Tehran, with which Moscow enjoys close ties, had warned Russia ahead of time about Saturday’s strikes on Israel, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had nothing to say on the matter.

“We don’t even want to talk about the escalation of this conflict. This is against the interests of Israel, Iran, and the entire region,” Peskov said.

“The Russian Federation continues close, constructive working contacts with Iran,” Peskov said. “We also have constructive contacts with Israel.”

“We are conducting a dialogue, talking about the need for de-escalation. We call on all countries in the region to exercise reasonable restraint.”

Peskov said the situation was serious.

“If we talk about a ‘direct’ conflict between Israel and Iran, I would not call the current conflict indirect,” Peskov told reporters.

“When the consulate of one country is destroyed it can hardly be called an indirect conflict.”

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Osborn)