Report: 'Russia never saw Hamas as terror group'

According to the Moscow Kommersant daily, Israeli officials were shocked by Putin openly supporting Palestinian terrorists. Commenting on Hamas's recent victory at the Palestinian legislative elections, Putin said Russia never declared Hamas a terrorist organization, although it never supported its actions. The West should not cut financial aid because of the Hamas s victory in the elections, he added. However, Putin also called on Hamas to take steps towards normalizing relations with Israel and the rest of the international community. "Hamas must refrain from radical statements, recognize Israel's right to exist, and establish contacts with the international community," Putin said.