Putin tells Hamas to engage in peaceful dialogue

President Vladimir Putin called on Hamas on Tuesday to engage in peaceful dialogue, and said Russia's position on the Middle East differed from that of the United States and Europe. Hamas should "refrain from extremist declarations, acknowledge Israel's right to exist and put its contacts with the international community in order," Putin said during a news conference. He said that "Russia has never declared Hamas a terrorist organization, but it doesn't mean we support and accept everything Hamas has done and all the statements it has made." Putin warned the West against refusing support for the Palestinians because of Hamas' recent electoral victory.