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Russia's Support for Hamas


October 7th





Russia's involvement with Hamas is multifaceted, encompassing diplomatic support, military training, and possible weapon supply. This support aligns with Russia's strategy to extend its influence in the Middle East and globally, often opposing Western interests. 

In a Nutshell

Reports suggest Hamas received training from Russian forces, including possibly the Wagner group, and weapons from Russia, some captured in Ukraine. Russia's close alliance with Iran, Hamas's main weapons supplier, involves mutual support in Syria and against Ukraine. Politically, Russia frequently meets with Hamas leaders, despite their terrorist designation by the U.S. and others, indicating a deepening relationship. The October 7, 2023, Hamas attack, resulting in over 1,400 deaths, aligns with Russia's geopolitical strategies by distracting global attention from Ukraine. Russia's muted response to the attack suggests tacit approval. Hamas acknowledges Russian support, fitting into Russia's broader strategy of challenging Western dominance and positioning itself as a key Middle Eastern player. 


Russian President Putin's engagement with Hamas, including inviting them to Moscow
post their 2006 electoral win, reflects this strategy. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has encouraged Hamas to evolve into a legitimate political movement, paralleling the IRA's transformation. Frequent Hamas visits to Moscow and positive Russian media portrayal of Hamas as "moderate" and "pragmatic" further illustrate Russia's view of Hamas in the Middle Eastern geopolitical landscape.

Full Story

The Full Story

Russia as a significant supporter of Hamas, not just diplomatically, but also in terms of military training and possibly weapon supply. This support is part of Russia's broader strategy to assert its influence in the Middle East and globally, often in opposition to Western interests. 

  • Training and Support: There are reports suggesting that Hamas received training from Russian forces, possibly including the Wagner group. This indicates a direct involvement in military training and preparation of Hamas fighters.

  • Weapon Supply: It is suggested that some of the weapons used by Hamas came from Russia, and there are also reports of Russia providing Hamas with Western weapons captured in Ukraine.

  • Strategic Alliance with Iran: Russia maintains a close alliance with Iran, which is Hamas's main supplier of weapons and diplomatic support. This relationship extends to providing Iran with intelligence and weapons in Syria and receiving drones, artillery shells, and ammunition from Iran for use against Ukraine.

  • Political and Diplomatic Engagement: Russia has been meeting with Hamas leaders, who are designated terrorists by the U.S. and other countries, for years. These meetings have been particularly frequent in the past two years, indicating a deepening relationship.

  • Impact of Hamas's Actions on Global Politics: The October 7, 2023, terror attack by Hamas, which resulted in over 1,400 deaths, is seen as beneficial for Russia. It distracts the U.S. from Ukraine and potentially shifts global attention, aligning with Russia's broader geopolitical strategies.

  • Russia's Reaction to Hamas's Actions: Russia's official response to the October 7 attack was slow and muted, not explicitly condemning the attack. This could be interpreted as a tacit approval or at least a reluctance to criticize Hamas.

  • Hamas's Acknowledgment of Russian Support: Hamas leaders have openly acknowledged the support and benefits they receive from Russia, indicating a mutual understanding and cooperation between the two.

  • Russia's Global Strategy: Russia's support for Hamas fits into its larger strategy of expanding its influence and challenging Western hegemony. By supporting Hamas, Russia positions itself as a key player in Middle Eastern affairs and as a counterbalance to U.S. influence in the region.

Russia's engagement with Hamas has been a significant aspect of its Middle Eastern policy, particularly under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin. In February 2006, following Hamas' victory in the Palestinian legislative elections, Putin made a bold move by inviting Hamas to Moscow, marking a clear shift in international relations. This invitation was a recognition of Hamas' democratic electoral success and an acknowledgment of their governance in the Palestinian territories. Putin, while in Madrid, stated, "We are maintaining our contacts with Hamas and intend to invite the leadership of this organization to Moscow." He emphasized that Russia never considered Hamas a terrorist organization and stressed the importance of respecting the Palestinian people's choice.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, shortly before the arrival of a Hamas delegation, expressed that Hamas should transform itself into a legitimate political movement, drawing a parallel with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Northern Ireland. Lavrov highlighted the need for Hamas to evolve, saying, "I do not think Hamas will have a serious future if Hamas does not change."

Over the years, numerous Hamas delegations have visited Moscow: in February 2007, May 2009, February 2010, and again in June 2014. In March 2015, Khaled Mashal used another invitation to Moscow to brief Lavrov on "Zionist terror in the West Bank and its attacks on Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem." In November of the same year, "The Moscow Times" reported Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov's statement that neither Hamas nor Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. This stance did not prevent Putin from meeting with Netanyahu in June 2016 to discuss the necessity of uniting efforts in the international fight against terrorism, reiterating that Hamas is not considered a terrorist organization by Russia.

The frequency of Hamas' visits to Russia increased over time, with at least two meetings per year: in January and September 2017, March and October 2018, February and July 2019, February, March, and October 2020, and February 2021, which also included a delegation from Islamic Jihad. In May and September 2022, and March and May 2023, further meetings were held. Additionally, phone conversations between senior Hamas officials and Deputy Foreign Minister Bogdanov took place.

The content of these meetings in Moscow has never been disclosed, so the nature of the Russia-Hamas relationship is primarily inferred from events and statements outside these meetings. For instance, in May 2021, Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, praised Russia, anticipating a high level of coordination between Russia and Hamas in the future. In May 2022, Moussa Abu Marzouq, head of Hamas' international relations, described the visit to Moscow as part of efforts to deepen consultations and bilateral coordination with the "Russian friends."
In June 2022, at a conference in Gaza, Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh, assessed that the U.S. is likely to lose its global hegemony post the Ukraine war, leading to a multipolar world order. They emphasized the importance of forming strategic alliances with forces supporting the "resistance," like Russia and China.

In Russian media, Hamas was described as "moderate" and "pragmatic" in March 2023, with its leaders portrayed as "politicians" open to dialogue. This characterization reflects Russia's view of Hamas and its role in the complex geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.



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