Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Hamas boss Ismail Haniyeh flashes the victory sign. Nov. 2018

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has sent an invitation to Hamas’ political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh to visit Moscow, according to a Hamas press release published in Palinfo.

According to the outlet, Aidar Aganin, head of Russia’s mission to the Palestinian Authority, conveyed the invitation at a meeting with Haniyeh in Gaza on Wednesday. The parties discussed “recent domestic and global developments.”


Haniyeh “commended Russia’s position on the Palestine issue,” while the Russian diplomat pointed out that Moscow “has been making every possible effort at every level to support the Palestinian people.”

Moscow has not yet responded to this information.

Hamas and Russia maintain formal relations. Several delegations from the terror group have visited Moscow for talks with senior Russian officials.

Earlier this month, Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in charge of its international relations who resides in Qatar, told Al-Monitor, “The Russian stance is part of an increasing international conviction of Hamas’ role and importance and its impact on the Palestinian arena. Russia is a major country that realized this fact early on, and it is dealing with us on that basis. The Palestinian cause cannot be settled without our participation or approval. Our relations with Moscow were not born yesterday, and we have ongoing visits between us as Russia seeks a positive role in the Palestinian cause — and this is what we want from this relationship.”

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov said on Nov. 9 that his country does not see Hamas as a terrorist group. “We are keeping contacts with Hamas,” he said, stressing that Hamas “is a legitimate political force in Palestine.”

Viktorov suggested that by labeling Hamas sabotages the peace process, and that it “should be involved in a possible political solution.” He recommended further said that Israel engage in direct dialogue with Hamas.