'There are no justifications and there cannot be' for threats to use nukes in Gaza, says Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman
Elena Teslova |09.11.2023 - Update : 10.11.2023
Russia on Thursday slammed a recent "provocative" and "absolutely unacceptable" remarks by a high-level Israeli official on the possibility of a nuclear strike on the Gaza Strip.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the comments Minister of Heritage Amihai Eliyahu made to Israeli media "clearly confirm that Israel possesses nuclear weapons" despite refusing to officially confirm it.
Zakharova asked: "Such statements mean that the entire civilian population of the Gaza Strip is threatened with the nuclear weapons. Is this a threat of genocide?"
"There are no justifications for such statements and there cannot be," she added.
Zakharova emphasized that the remarks were made by an official of a state that positions itself and is proclaimed by the West as "the only democracy in the Middle East."
She asserted that Israel was acting as if this implied its "complete and unconditional rightness in any situation."
"Taking into account Israel's policy of uncertainty regarding the possession of nuclear weapons, these statements not only clearly confirm the country's possession of the nuclear weapons, but also demonstrate a willingness to seriously consider the possibility of its use in completely inadequate scenarios," she noted.
Zakharova said Eliyahu's statement was a "serious reason to think about where the extremist representatives of Israel may lead, thinking they are allowed everything" shielded by Western support.
"The issue of creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and its means of delivery in the Middle East is becoming more pressing and urgent. Progress in this direction, we recall, is systematically 'torpedoed' by Israel with the active support and connivance of the US," she said.
Eliyahu, a member of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, had told Israeli media on Sunday that dropping a "nuclear bomb" on the Gaza Strip was "an option." Israel has long refused to publicly acknowledge whether it possesses nuclear arms.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had distanced himself from the statement and, according to media reports, suspended Eliyahu from Cabinet meetings until further notice.