Moscow calls on the parties to all regional armed conflicts to immediately stop hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
"In connection with the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Russian Foreign Ministry urges the parties to regional armed conflicts to immediately stop the fighting, introduce a ceasefire and a humanitarian pause," the ministry said in support for a similar call made by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday.
Otherwise, given the fact that majority of people living in conflict areas do not have access to essential medicines and qualified medical assistance, the pandemic could lead to a global humanitarian catastrophe, the ministry stressed.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria, as well as in the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, are of particular concern, Moscow said.
"We separately note the risks associated with the possible degradation of the epidemiological situation in African countries where armed confrontation does not subside," the ministry continued.
Camps for refugees and temporarily displaced persons are most vulnerable to the epidemic, it said.
"First of all, our appeal concerns countries that illegally use military force outside their national borders. We especially note that in the current conditions there can be no justification for the policy of unilateral coercive measures, including economic restrictions, which seriously complicate the efforts of the authorities to protect the health of their people," the ministry stressed.
The situation in areas controlled by terrorist groups also causes great concern. In the future, these zones may be most vulnerable to the spread of infection, so counter-terrorism efforts should continue, it said.
"We urge the international community to provide the countries in need with the necessary humanitarian assistance without any political preconditions. Such support should be aimed at saving people in distress. It is not acceptable to use humanitarian aid as a tool for imposing internal political changes, as well as speculating on destinies of the victims," the ministry said.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia will continue to promote a political and diplomatic settlement of regional conflicts on the basis of the UN Charter and international law and is ready for active cooperation in this area with all interested parties, the ministry said.