MOSCOW, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Organizers of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla intercepted this week by the Israeli navy have been connected closely to Russia's Chechen separatists, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told a Russian TV channel on Friday.
"The organizers of this sail to Gaza had been sustaining tight links with the separatists from Chechnya and they used to support them for many years," Liberman told the news channel.
"It is clear that their one and only objective was to provoke bloodshed and a clash," the Israeli minister noted.
Liberman's Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov earlier this week expressed Moscow's regret over the loss of lives during the Israeli commando operation.
"To my deep regret, blood needed to be spilled to draw international attention to the intolerable plight of the Gaza people," said Lavrov.
On Friday, Cyprus and Greece undertook an initiative to provide "humanitarian support" for the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli rangers stormed the international aid flotilla with more than 600 people on board in neutral waters in the Mediterranean Sea on Monday, killing at least nine people and injuring nearly 30 others.