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Russia-Ukraine war: How Middle Eastern leaders reacted to the invasion

Iran blames war on Nato failures and Israel condemns invasion while Ukraine pleads for help from Turkey
An injured man waits to receive medical assistance after bombing in the eastern Ukraine town of Chuguiv on 24 February 2022 (AFP)

After weeks of tensions and diplomatic shuttling, Russia launched attacks across Ukraine early on Thursday, including in the capital Kyiv and Kharkiv, in the northeast of the country. 

From a serious threat to the region to the natural result of "trusting the West", Middle Eastern leaders and newspapers quickly reacted to the invasion. Here's what they've said:

Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted that the Ukraine crisis was "rooted in Nato provocations".

"We do not see resorting to war as a solution. Establishing a ceasefire and focusing on a political and democratic solution is a necessity," he said in the tweet.

Iranians living in Ukraine were urged to leave the country with the Iranian embassy in Kyiv working to obtain permits for evacuation flights because Ukrainian airspace is currently closed, Iran's semi-official Isna news agency reported.

Conservative newspaper Resalat published an opinion piece entitled: "The result of trusting the West."

Iraq

Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tweeted on Thursday: "Wars were never a solution to problems, but rather an increase in the number of problems and crises. Especially for such a war that might drag the entire world into a relentless war.

"I say this about a bitter Iraqi experience," he continued. "They are full of wars and blood, from which we have reaped nothing but ruin, weakness and destruction in the midst of the exacerbation of extremism and terrorism in our Islamic and Arab countries."

Iraq's foreign ministry asked Ukrainian universities to grant Iraqi students in the country emergency leave "in case the security situation worsens".

Israel

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: "Russia's attack on Ukraine is a serious violation of international order, Israel condemns the attack."

Egypt

The Egyptian embassy in Ukraine urged its citizens to stay at home, keep hold of their identity documents and "follow the instructions from the Ukrainian authorities until the situation stabilises".

Qatar

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly called Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Thursday and briefed him on the latest developments in the country, Qatar's state news agency said.

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Al Thani called on all parties to exercise restraint and resolve the crisis through diplomatic means, the statement added. 

Turkey

Turkey called on Russia to immediately stop its "unjust and unlawful" military operation against Ukraine with the Turkish foreign ministry accusing Moscow of flagrantly violating international law.

“It is a serious threat against our region and the world,” the ministry said. “Turkey is against the change of borders through weapons."

Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine's ambassador to Ankara, said on Thursday that his country expected solidarity from the Nato member and that Turkey should not remain impartial after Russia launched an offensive against its neighbour.

Bodnar also called on Ankara for help, asking it to close the Bosphorus straits to Russian ships, and to close its air space to Russian planes.

“We call on our strategic partner Turkey to support us in these difficult times,” said Bodnar.

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