Russia Clarifies Current Relationship with Hamas

( — On Sunday, the Russian foreign minister called for an international mission to monitor and assess the humanitarian situation in Gaza and condemned Israel for using the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas to justify punishing the Palestinians in Gaza, Reuters reported.

In an interview on Al Jazeera from the Doha Forum conference on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said while his country “strongly condemned” the October 7 attacks, Moscow does not believe it was acceptable for Israel to use the attacks “for the collective punishment” of millions of Palestinians in Gaza through “indiscriminate shelling.”

Lavrov called for further “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting and “some kind of monitoring on the ground.” He said Russia suggested to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres that he “use his authority” to set up a monitoring mission, but so far, Guterres has not done so.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has accused the West of ignoring the need for a Palestinian state, spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday about the situation in Gaza.

Lavrov told Al Jazeera that what happened did not occur “in a vacuum,” arguing that decades of failing to secure a Palestinian state led to the October 7 attacks.

When asked if it was hypocritical for Russia to criticize Israel over the Palestinians while it is fighting a war in Ukraine, Lavrov said Russia was not hypocritical.

He said the West was trying to exhaust his country by continuing to supply weapons to Ukraine and suggested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was avoiding peace talks so he would not have to annul his presidential decree.

Asked what chance there was of a diplomatic end to the war in Ukraine, Lavrov suggested that Al Jazeera ask Zelensky that question, noting again that the Ukrainian president signed a decree over a year ago prohibiting negotiations with President Putin.

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