CNBC is currently providing a live blog to keep track of the latest developments in the war in Ukraine. However, the focus has shifted over the weekend due to a deadly attack by Hamas on Israel. This attack has resulted in over 1,000 deaths in both Israel and Gaza, with Israel launching retaliatory airstrikes. Israel is still engaged in fighting with militants on its own territory, and the fate of hostages taken by Hamas remains unknown. Russia, which has traditionally maintained a delicate diplomatic balance between Israel and Arab countries, has called for a cease-fire and blamed the West for obstructing international mediators. Analysts suggest that Russia may use the violence in Israel to divert attention from its operations in Ukraine. The Kremlin has expressed extreme concern about the situation but has not yet planned to contact Israeli or Palestinian officials to discuss the security crisis. A photo shows the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike targeting the National Bank in Gaza City.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed his support for Israel in its fight against Hamas, a designated terrorist group by the U.S., U.K., and EU. Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of the international community responding in a principled manner to the ongoing situation. Additionally, Kyiv has accused Russia of planning a disinformation campaign to discredit Ukraine in the Middle East.
According to Ukraine's main intelligence department, Russia is allegedly planning to launch a disinformation campaign in the Middle East to discredit Ukraine. The department claims that Russia intends to allege that Ukraine supplied Western weapons to Hamas militants. The Russian army is accused of providing Hamas with "trophy weapons" captured during the conflict in Ukraine. The intelligence department suggests that Russia's plan is to make fake accusations against the Ukrainian military regarding the regular sale of Western weapons to terrorists. These accusations would then be used as the basis for "revealing publications" and "investigations" in Western media as part of a disinformation campaign. However, no evidence has been provided to support these claims, and CNBC has been unable to verify the information. Ukraine believes that Russia's goal is to discredit the Ukrainian Armed Forces and halt military aid from Western partners. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed support and condolences to Israel following the attacks by Hamas and has criticized Iran's role in both the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy emphasized that Iran cannot deny involvement in the situations in Ukraine and Israel due to its sale of drones to Russia and its officials claiming support for what is happening in Israel. However, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken stated that there is no evidence linking Iran to the recent attacks on Israel, but acknowledged the longstanding ties between Tehran and Hamas. Zelenskyy called for Western unity and emphasized the interconnectedness of global events. The Kremlin expressed concern about the crisis in Israel but has no plans to contact Middle Eastern leaders.
On Monday, the Kremlin expressed its concern over the conflict between Israel and Hamas, stating that it poses a significant danger to the region. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have any scheduled calls with Middle Eastern leaders at the moment. The Kremlin's Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, reiterated Russia's call for a cease-fire and criticized the West for not addressing the long-standing tensions between Israel and Palestine. Peskov emphasized the need to resolve the situation peacefully to prevent further escalation. Despite the concern, Putin does not currently plan to contact Israeli or Palestinian officials. In a separate development, the UK Ministry of Defense stated that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has strengthened its partnership with Iran, as both countries seek to mitigate Western sanctions. The UK intelligence update highlighted the deepening economic ties between Russia and Iran, with Russia reportedly investing $2.76 billion in Iran in 2022-23.
Iran has been providing military aid to Russia in their campaign in Ukraine, including thousands of one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and artillery munitions. This aid has now expanded to include the assembly and production of these UAVs in Russia under license. The diplomatic and economic ties between Russia and Iran have also intensified. Russia's engagement with Iran is expected to increase further following Iran's admission into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and its invitation to join the economic BRICS grouping. Analysts suggest that Russia may try to exploit the Hamas-Israeli conflict to divert attention from its operations in Ukraine. The Kremlin is likely to use the Hamas attacks in Israel to advance information operations aimed at reducing Western support and attention to Ukraine.
The ISW (Institute for the Study of War) has observed that the Kremlin is amplifying information operations following Hamas' attacks in Israel. Russia is blaming the West for neglecting conflicts in the Middle East in favor of supporting Ukraine. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, claimed on social media that the US and its allies should have focused on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement instead of interfering with Russia and providing military aid to Ukraine. Russia's Foreign Ministry accused the West of creating the basis for the current violence and blamed them for blocking the work of international mediators in the Middle East. A Russian propagandist also stated that Russia will benefit from the escalation as it will divert attention away from Ukraine. The ISW highlights that these narratives aim to drive a wedge in military support for Ukraine, demoralize Ukrainian society, and reassure Russian domestic audiences. Meanwhile, Russia has called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and expressed grave concern over the escalation. They urge both sides to renounce violence and establish a negotiation process with international assistance for lasting peace in the Middle East.
Moscow has traditionally maintained a delicate diplomatic balance between its oil-producing Arab allies and Israel. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to hold talks with Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary-general of the League of Arab States, in Moscow on Monday. The escalating Arab-Israeli conflict will be a key focus of their discussions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed support for Israel in its battle against the Hamas militant group. Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of the international community responding in a principled manner to the ongoing conflict, and he extended his condolences to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the significant number of casualties.
"The Ukrainian Embassy and Israeli police are cooperating fully to gather information about Ukrainians who were caught in the areas of conflict and shelling. Regrettably, we have confirmed the deaths of two Ukrainian citizens," stated Zelenskyy.
Zelenskyy expressed shock at the audacity of the attack and emphasized that if terrorists can carry out such acts, they pose a threat not only to one country but to the international community as a whole.
He further stated that Ukraine will collaborate with its partners to ensure global unity in the fight against terrorism. Several international events have already been planned, and Ukraine will continue to advocate for unity and collective action."