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Putin urges 'renunciation of violence' after Gaza deaths

Russian President Vladimir Putin's victory in the March election was never in question and the prospect of his inauguration has generated little excitement
Michael Klimentyev (Sputnik/AFP/File)
Lavrov said it was 'blasphemous' that dozens of 'peaceful' protesters were killed by Israeli forces on border

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for an end to the violence on the Gaza border during a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin said.

The leaders discussed "the mass protest actions on Palestinian territories" and expressed "serious concern over the deaths of a large number of participants," the Kremlin said in a statement.

During the conversation, "the Russian side stressed the importance of renouncing violence (and) the need to establish a productive talks process with the aim of seeking mutually acceptable outcomes based on the relevant UN resolutions," the Kremlin added.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow that it was "blasphemous" to call dozens of "peaceful" protesters killed on the Gaza border by Israeli forces "terrorists".

"I cannot agree with the fact that dozens of peaceful civilians, including children and infants, who were killed in these incidents were terrorists. This is a blasphemous statement," Lavrov said.

SAID KHATIB (AFP)

Protests that took place on Monday after the United States moved its embassy in Jerusalem saw dozens of Palestinian killed by Israeli fire. Gaza's rulers Hamas said that most were its members.

Those killed included a baby who died from tear gas inhalation along with eight children under the age of 16.

Lavrov stressed the need for dialogue on the status of Jerusalem, saying that "this topic cannot be a matter for unilateral decisions" and requires "direct dialogue between the leadership of Israel and Palestine."

The US government has placed the blame for the bloodshed with Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

Speaking at the United Nations on Tuesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Hamas would have been "pleased with the results from yesterday."

(More to follow)

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