MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday condemned Israel's "disproportionate" use of force in air strikes on the Gaza Strip while calling on Palestinian militants to halt firing rockets at the Jewish state.
"Attacks on the south of Israel and the disproportionate strikes on Gaza -- especially when civilians are killed on both sides -- are completely unacceptable," foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.
The Russian official stressed that the violence was especially dangerous because it came against the backdrop of existing regional instability linked to the conflict in Syria and last year's war in Libya.
Lukashevich said Israel and the Palestinians were now pursuing a course that could lead to still further bloodshed between them while threatening to degenerate into a broader conflict.
"We strongly appeal on all the involved parties to immediately end their armed confrontation and to keep the conflict from resulting in still further bloodshed," the Russian spokesman told a weekly briefing.
"We believe that considering the fragile situation in the Middle East and the entire North African region, such large flare-ups of violence are fraught with dangerous consequences, including in other parts of the Arab world."