On Monday, in a speech to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen via video link, Zelenskyy said:
“The only difference is that there is a terrorist organization that attacked Israel and here is a terrorist state that attacked Ukraine. The intentions declared are different, but the essence is the same.”
And he noted the role played by Iran:
“Iran can’t say it has nothing to do with what is going on in Ukraine if it sells Shaheds (drones) to Russia. Iran can’t say it has nothing to do with what is going on in Israel, if its officials claim the support of what is going on in Israel,” Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy also said Western countries must remain united in the fight against terrorism. Although he did not specifically mention efforts by MAGA supporters in the House to halt military aid to Ukraine, he indicated his concern about such developments in his speech.
“This is not the time to withdraw from the international arena into internal disputes. This is not the time to isolate ourselves. This is not the time to remain silent or pretend that the terror on one continent does not affect global affairs,” Zelenskyy said.
In a speech broadcast earlier on Ukrainian television, Zelenskyy said that he had spoken by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express solidarity with Israel. He also confirmed that two Ukrainian citizens had been killed in the Hamas attack. He said:
“Many people were shocked by the audacity of the terrorist attack. … Terror has opened too many fronts against humanity. The war against Ukraine, the war in the Middle East, terrible destabilization in Africa, constant attempts to provoke a crisis in the world food market. Being strong in such conditions means standing up to terror. It is not enough to be a great country, it is not enough to be a rich country … to be strong is to protect people and lives from all forms of terror.”
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As for Russia, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Moscow was “seriously concerned” about the escalating conflict, but refrained from criticizing Hamas, according to The Moscow Times, which is now operating out of Amsterdam. It quoted Peskov as saying:
"The continuation of such a round of violence is, of course, fraught with further escalation and expansion of the conflict. This is a great danger for the region, so we are extremely concerned," Peskov told reporters.
When asked about Moscow’s stance on Hamas, he said: "First, everything there [in Israel and Gaza] should get out of the active combat phase of war. While this active phase is ongoing, it is difficult to talk about anything for now."
Last March, a Hamas delegation visited Moscow to meet with Russian officials. But Hanna Notte, a Berlin-based analyst with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and an expert on Russian policy in the Middle East, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
“I've never seen an indication of direct, large weapons shipments from Russia to Hamas, let alone Hamas being trained by Russian military. And again, in the context of this latest attack, I have yet to see the evidence that this is Russian weapons or that the Russians have trained Hamas. So I don't see a direct role here.”
The independent Russian news outlet, Meduza, operating out of Latvia, also published a brief history of Russia’s relations with Hamas titled “High Hopes, Limited Influence.”
But it’s already clear that Russia intends to exploit the current conflict to serve its own interests in undermining support for Ukraine in the U.S. and other Western countries. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, expressed the hope that the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine would “inevitably decrease” due to the need to provide weapons to Israel after the Hamas attack, Ukrainska Pravda reported. "New needs arise, emotional fatigue and justified questions about what exactly the money of foreign taxpayers is spent on are increasingly on the agenda," Peskov said.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s National Security Council who is known for his extreme comments about the war in Ukraine, went even further. He blamed the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war on the United States, according to The Moscow Times.
“Clashes between Hamas and Israel on the 50th anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War could have been expected. That’s what Washington and its allies should have been focused on,” Medvedev said on Telegram.
“But instead of actively working to resolve the Palestine-Israeli [conflict], these idiots have picked a fight with us and are helping neo-Nazis with might and main, pushing two close people together.”
“What can stop America’s maniacal passion to stoke conflict across the entire planet? Probably only a civil war on the territory of the United States,” he said.
And Medvedev previewed a more ominous Russian disinformation campaign that is sure to be picked up by the pro-Putin wing of the GOP. Medvedev claimed that weapons provided to Ukraine by the U.S. and other Western countries had ended up in the hands of Hamas, implying that Kyiv had resold Western weapons to Hamas.
Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate warned that Russia has handed over captured weapons made in the U.S. and other NATO members in an effort to discredit Ukraine and launch a disinformation campaign, providing fake news for a number of “revelatory publications” and “investigations” in Western media.
Ukrainska Pravda quoted the Main Intelligence Directorate as saying:
“The aggressor state Russia is using the attack of Hamas terrorists on the state of Israel for a large-scale provocation against Ukraine.
“Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine is aware that Russian intelligence has already delivered trophy weapons manufactured in the US and EU and captured during the hostilities in Ukraine to Hamas militants.
“The next step in the Russians' plan should be false accusations against the Ukrainian military of allegedly selling Western weapons to terrorists on a regular basis."
There remains an open question as to whether the Hamas attack will result in any changes in Israel-Ukraine relations.
Netanyahu and Zelenskyy met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting last month. The Kyiv Independent reported at the time that “Israel has come under increasing criticism from Kyiv over its persistent refusal to supply air defense systems or other military aid.” In particular, Ukraine would like to obtain Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system that has proven effective in thwarting attacks by drones, rockets, and missiles.
And while Netanyahu promised that his country will "continue to help Ukraine on humanitarian matters, including dealing with anti-personnel mines," his declaration fell far short of the level of support requested by his Ukrainian counterpart.
Their meeting also showed that little can be done to align the two countries.
Critics have long charged that Netanyahu's foreign policy has prioritized realpolitik over ethical concerns, particularly those relating to human rights, antisemitism, and Holocaust memory. ...
Over the past 19 months of full-scale war, Israel has rebuffed multiple Ukrainian calls for anti-missile systems such as the Iron Dome, stating that such a move would harm its own national security and could even endanger Russia's large Jewish community, which has faced official pressure to support the war.
The Kyiv Independent, said an Israeli source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia's military presence in Syria was the “primary driver” of the Israeli government’s current policy, stating that the two sides had established "a special connection" following Moscow's 2015 deployment of anti-aircraft systems close to Israel's borders.
Russia and Iran are clearly being drawn closer together. But it’s another question whether the horrific Hamas attack on Israel will improve relations between Kyiv and Jerusalem, which share common interests, particularly regarding the threat posed by Iran.