A delegation from the Palestinian Hamas movement arrived in Moscow on Tuesday at the invitation of Russia’s Foreign Ministry to hold “important” talks with Russian officials.
Deputy Head of Hamas Political Bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk led the delegation, which included Hamas leaders Fathi Hammad and Hussam Badran, as well as the Movement’s representative in Moscow.
Officials are scheduled to hold talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, and a meeting may be set with the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
They also plan to hold consultations at the State Duma (parliament) and the Federation Council (Senate) and meet with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Talks will focus on the situation in Jerusalem, the field developments in the Palestinian Territories and the Russian-Palestinian ties.
Sources said Hamas plans to raise the issue of Israel’s frequent provocative acts in the occupied West Bank, the siege imposed on Gaza Strip, and the regional situation, in light of the current global crisis with Russia's war against Ukraine.
Israel on Monday lashed out at Russia over “unforgivable” comments by its foreign minister about Nazism and antisemitism - including claims that Adolf Hitler was Jewish.
Israel, which summoned the Russian ambassador in response, said the remarks blamed Jews for their own murder in the Holocaust.
It was a steep decline in the ties between the two countries at a time when Israel has sought to stake out a cautious position between Russia and Ukraine and remain in Russia’s good stead for its security needs in the Middle East.
Asked in an interview with an Italian news channel about Russian claims that it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” the country, Lavrov said Ukraine could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including the country’s president, were Jewish.
“So when they say ‘How can Nazification exist if we’re Jewish?’ In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything. For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish,” he said.
Tel Aviv called on Moscow to apologize to the Jewish people.
The Russian ministry said in a statement that Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's comments were “anti-historical” and “explaining to a large extent why the current Israeli government supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”
The Hamas delegation’s visit to Moscow is the second since December 2021, when talks focused on Palestinian reconciliation and Russia’s repeated call on Palestinian factions to end their division.