Marco Levytsky, Editorial Writer.
On October 7, 2023 – Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s 71st birthday — the terrorist group Hamas launched its brutal and murderous attack on Israel. Was the timing deliberate, or merely a coincidence? No one really knows. What we do know is, as the headline to a well researched opinion piece by Jonathan Sweet and Mark Toth in The Hill, a highly respected American political website, read: “Putin’s fingerprints are all over the Hamas attack.”
“The evidence for Russian involvement in this atrocity is circumstantial, but present. Putin benefited from leveraging Hamas to incite terror and generate an Israeli response to distract the U.S. government away from supporting Ukraine, and he used Iran to achieve his end,” they wrote.
Several other pundits and news reports have also tracked Russia’s involvement with Hamas and their barbarous attack. What it amounts to is a terrorist triad, The road from the terrorist state Russia to the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah leads right through terrorist state Iran, which has become Russia’s closest ally in the war against Ukraine.
Here are some of the many fact that reveal this terrorist connection:
• Hamas leaders traveled to Moscow in March 2023 for a meeting which, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry “touched on Russia’s unchanged position in support of a just solution to the Palestinian problem.”
• September 10 Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh held another meeting in Moscow which, according to Hillel Frisch, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy, and Security was intended ‘to signal [Moscow’s] displeasure with Israel, perhaps in relation to Ukraine.’
• Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group mercenaries trained Hamas militants in Africa, on “assault tactics and the use of small unmanned aerial vehicles to drop explosive devices onto vehicles and other targets,” according to a report from Ukraine’s National Resistance Center. “Only Russians, among Hamas allies, have experience in using drones with drop mechanisms on enemy equipment,” the report said.
• A hacker collective called Killnet, alleged to be affiliated with the Kremlin, launched a cyberattack against the Israeli government on the day of the surprise attack by Hamas. The next day, the group issued a statement via Telegram alleging that the Israeli government was guilty of terrorist attacks, saying: “Back in 2022, you supported the terrorist regime of Ukraine. You betrayed Russia. Today Killnet officially informs you about it! All Israeli government systems will be subject to our attacks!”
• Kyrylo Budanov, the Head of Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence, says that Russia has also been supplying Hamas with infantry weapons that were seized in Ukraine. The aim is to accuse the Ukrainian military of regularly providing Western-made weapons to Hamas by which Moscow aims to sow doubt among Western nations and disrupt the flow of arms to the Ukrainian Defense Forces.
As the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington DC states: “The Kremlin amplified several information operations following Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7, primarily blaming the West for neglecting conflicts in the Middle East in favor of supporting Ukraine and claiming the international community will cease to pay attention to Ukraine by portraying attention to the Middle East or alternatively Ukraine as a zero-sum comparison. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev claimed the United States and its allies should have been ‘busy with’ working on ‘Palestinian-Israeli settlement’ rather than ‘interfering’ with Russia and providing Ukraine with military aid.  The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) accused the West of blocking efforts by a necessary “quartet” of Russia, the US, the European Union, and the United Nations, leading to an escalation in violence, implicitly blaming the West for the current fighting.  Prominent Russian propagandist Sergei Mardan directly stated that Russia will benefit from the escalation as the world ‘will take its mind off Ukraine for a while and get busy once again putting out the eternal fire in the Middle East.’  These Kremlin narratives target Western audiences to drive a wedge in military support for Ukraine, seek to demoralize Ukrainian society by claiming Ukraine will lose international support, and intend to reassure Russian domestic audiences that the international society will ignore Ukraine’s war effort.”
It is critical for the world to see how these two conflicts are interconnected. What we are facing is a conflict between authoritarianism and democracy. And the forces of authoritarianism are led by the terrorist states of Russia and Iran and their terrorist group subordinates. To battle this global threat it is necessary to:
• Destroy terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, but, at the same time address and eliminate the root conditions that allow these terrorist groups to thrive;
• Step up the economic sanctions on the states that sponsor terrorism and inflict horrific atrocities against their neighbours while at the same time doing everything possible to support the opposition to them;
• Do not be afraid to seek regime change as an ultimate goal. When you eliminate terrorist regimes you eliminate support for terrorist groups and threats to global security.
• Do not allow Russian propaganda to distract the democratic forces from their main objective. This will only allow the terrorist world to divide and conquer the democratic one;
• Do not stoop to terrorist levels. Remember that as democratic states we follow the rules of war and aim specifically at military targets. Unlike terrorist states, democratic ones do not engage in indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Neither do they prevent them from accessing food, water and electricity.