Russia has defended its envoy to Tel Aviv, who was summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry over an interview critical of the occupying entity, saying his remarks are perfectly in line with Moscow’s well-known position on West Asia region issues.
Speaking to Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post on December 8, Russia’s Ambassador to Tel Aviv Anatoly Viktorov said the regime’s conflict with Palestine and other Arab countries, not Iran, is the root cause of instability in the West Asia region.
“The problem in the region is not Iranian activities,” he said. “It’s a lack of understanding between countries and non-compliance with UN resolutions in the Israel-Arab and Israel-Palestinian conflict.”
Viktorov also blamed Israel for fueling violence in the region through conducting airstrikes on Syria.
“Israel is attacking Hezbollah, Hezbollah is not attacking Israel,” he said, adding that Tel Aviv should not attack “the territories of sovereign UN members.”
The Russian ambassador further referred to the tunnels under Lebanon’s border with the occupied territories, which Tel Aviv claims to have been dug by the Hezbollah resistance movement, saying there was “no proof Hezbollah created the tunnels.”
The Israeli foreign ministry summoned Viktorov and said that he was “seriously reprimanded” for his interview by Alon Bar, the ministry’s political director.
Israel expects dialogue with Russia to “relate to reality and the threats Israel faces, and not to outrageous and dangerously false illusions,” it added.
Moreover, Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi said, “I think it was made clear beyond all doubt that Israel does not accept these statements, and thus I hope we will bring an end to such embarrassing and unacceptable statements between us and Russia, and in general.”
On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described Israel’s reaction to the interview as oversensitive.
Russia has always underlined that the issue of Palestine is central for ensuring peace and stability in West Asia, Zakharova stressed, saying, “For our part, we are ready to provide every support possible in attaining this goal.”