Russia dispatched a cargo plane carrying 25 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, a region grappling with a near-total siege and continuous bombardment.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry said in a statement posted on its Telegram channel on Friday that the plane carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza was sent on the Russian president’s order and on behalf of the Russian government.
“A special Il-76 flight of the ministry has departed from the Ramenskoye airfield in the Moscow Region for El Arish Airport,” the ministry said in a statement.
The humanitarian cargo comprises food, hygiene products, clothing and portable cookers, which will be handed to Egypt's Red Crescent Society for distribution to the people of Gaza.
This is the fifth humanitarian aid shipment from Russia to Gaza, according to the emergency service's social media updates. Last week, two special flights delivered 60 tonnes of humanitarian assistance, including food and personal care items.
The aid efforts come at the time of intensified Israeli military operations in Gaza aimed at neutralizing Hamas, a Palestinian militant organization.
The conflict escalated when Hamas launched an operation, codenamed "Al-Aqsa Flood," on October 7, resulting in casualties and capturing hundreds of residents in southern Israel. In response, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) initiated a campaign to repel the assault and incapacitate Hamas.
Since October 9, Gaza has been under a near-total siege, severely restricting the entry of essential supplies like water, food, and medicine. Only a limited number of aid trucks, approximately 500 from Egypt over the past month, have been allowed into the territory.
As of November 10, Palestinian health authorities reported over 10,812 Palestinians, including 4,412 children and 2,918 women, have lost their lives. Meanwhile, Israel reported 1,600 deaths and 5,400 injuries, with 250,000 Israelis evacuated from territories stormed by Hamas.
In recent years, Russia and Israel have maintained positive and cooperative relations. However, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year, Moscow significantly strengthened its military connections with Iran, a sworn enemy of Israel and a state which has reportedly provided financial and material support to Hamas.
Moscow has consistently advocated for a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Since 2002, Russia has been a member of the 'quartet,' a group comprising the UN, US, EU, and Russia, designed to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Russia holds a unique position in Middle Eastern geopolitics by forming alliances with countries with conflicting interests. This includes aligning with both Iran and Israel, as well as Iran and the oil-producing powerhouse Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Russia positioned itself as an influential mediator in the region.