Russia defends decision to invite Hamas, says it’s in contact with all sides newsbhunt


MOSCOW: Russia on Friday defended its decision to invite a Hamas delegation to Moscow against strong Israeli criticism, saying it was necessary to maintain contacts with all sides in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Israel, which has vowed to wipe out Hamas in retaliation for an Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,400 people, has described the decision as “deplorable” and urged Moscow to expel the delegation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Hamas delegation had met with representatives of Russia’s foreign ministry but not with President Vladimir Putin or Kremlin officials.
“We consider it necessary to continue our contacts with all parties and, of course, we will continue our dialogue with Israel,” he told reporters.
Russia has ties to all the key players in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran, Syria, Hamas, and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority which exercises limited self-rule under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank.
It has repeatedly blamed the crisis on a failure of US diplomacy.
Russia’s embassy in Israel issued a statement in which it reiterated Moscow’s call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages held by Hamas and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, which Israel is heavily bombarding ahead of an expected ground invasion. Officials in Gaza say more than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed.
Russia’s Kommersant newspaper quoted a member of the Hamas delegation in Moscow, Abu Hamid, as saying that the group could not release any hostages until a ceasefire had been agreed.
It cited Abu Hamid as saying Hamas needed time to locate all those taken to Gaza by various Palestinian factions in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Peskov ruled out any risk of Russia being drawn into the conflict after US fighter jets on Friday struck weapons and ammunition facilities in Syria in retaliation for attacks on US forces by Iranian-backed militia.
But he added that the US strikes would further stoke tensions across the region. “This is very bad,” he said.
The TASS news agency reported on Friday that another senior member of the Hamas delegation visiting Moscow, Abu Marzouk, had held talks with Iran’s deputy foreign minister Ali Baghiri Kani, who is also visiting the Russian capital.
The two discussed efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid to its residents, and Baghiri Kani also reaffirmed Tehran’s strong support for the Palestinian cause, TASS said, citing Iranian embassy sources in Moscow.


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