A high-level Hamas delegation visited Moscow recently at the invitation of the Russian government, the Palestinian resistance group said on Tuesday. It made the announcement while highlighting its standing among major global powers. Both Russia and China have good ties with Hamas despite it being designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel and its allies in the west.
The deputy head of the movement’s political bureau, Saleh Al-Arouri, confirmed details of the official visit to Moscow. “The leadership of the movement visited Moscow and met [Foreign Minister] Sergey Lavrov,” Al-Arouri is reported as saying. “It was an important visit that highlights the role of the movement with many global actors.”
The Hamas official did not specify when the visit to Moscow took place, saying only that it happened “recently.” He then spoke about the possibility of another international trip “in the coming weeks.”
The previous official Hamas visit to Moscow was only six months ago, when the head of its Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, and other senior leaders met with Lavrov. Hamas opted to accept Moscow’s invitation in September despite some opposition within the leadership. It was reported at the time that some members recognised that the invitation came as part of Russia’s dispute with Israel, Europe and the US.
The announcement of the latest delegation to go to the Russian capital comes as relations between Russia and Israel are under strain following the invasion of Ukraine, since when Russia has shown signs of greater solidarity with Palestine.
“There was a poorly camouflaged attempt to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine to distract the international community’s attention from one of the oldest unsettled conflicts – the Palestinian-Israeli one,” said Sergey Lavrov last year.