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Russia’s communication with Hamas does not mean support for terrorism — ambassador

According to Anatoly Viktorov, whether to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization or not is an old narrative that gets recycled from time to time

MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. Russia condemns all forms of terrorism, and Moscow’s communication with certain representatives of Hamas does not mean it supports the movement’s terrorist activity, Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov said at a news conference.

"Our maintaining communication with some representatives of Hamas does not in any way whatsoever mean that we support such [terrorist] actions," the Russian diplomat said. Moscow has always condemned "any manifestations of terrorism and extremism," he added.

The Russian diplomat explained that Moscow has stayed in contact with Hamas as the military group still plays a major political role across most of the Palestinian territory. "Such contacts are essential for conducting any serious talks or taking serious actions," he said.

According to him, whether to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization or not is an old narrative that gets recycled from time to time. "First, there is no international recognition of Hamas as a terrorist organization, <…> Hamas is not on the UN list of terrorist organizations either," Viktorov maintained.

In a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed his most sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of killed Israelis as he condemned any actions that result in the deaths of civilians, including women and children, the diplomat said.

Tensions in the Middle East flared up again after Hamas militants infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7. The Palestinian movement described its attack as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel announced a total blockade of Gaza and started carrying out strikes on the Palestinian enclave, as well as on certain areas in Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also taking place on the West Bank. Over 2,800 Palestinians have been killed and more than 11,200 have suffered wounds; in Israel, the death toll stands at about 1,500 and nearly 4,000 people have been wounded.