Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has suggested that Russia is profiting from the war in the Middle East as top officials. of Hamas arrived in Moscow for negotiations.
Addressing EU leaders gathered for a summit in Brussels, Zelenskyy said via video link: “We must do everything to prevent an even bigger international fire from breaking out in the Middle East. The enemies of freedom have every interest in bringing the free world to the second front.”
He added: “We must see this scenario clearly and counter it – together, of course. The sooner there is security in the Middle East, the sooner we will restore security here – in Europe.
Zelensky spoke as a Hamas delegation visited Moscow for talks on the release of foreign hostages, including Russians, that the group is holding in Gaza, Russian news agencies reported.
Mousa Abu Marzook, founder and political leader of Hamas who now lives in Qatar, led the delegation that met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza could lead to a wider regional conflict. “Our main task is to put an end to bloodshed and violence,” he said, “otherwise a further escalation of the crisis would be fraught with serious, extremely dangerous and destructive consequences. And not just for the Middle East region. This could spill far beyond the borders of the Middle East.”
Russia launched its war against Ukraine in February 2022, leading to the deaths of thousands of civilians and creating millions of Ukrainian refugees who have spread across Europe and beyond.
At their Brussels summit, European leaders discuss the twin wars in Ukraine and the Middle East. These conflicts test the limits of the bloc’s foreign policy reach, particularly given the difficulties European leaders face in aligning their positions with Israel.
“It is clear that the conflict in the Middle East casts a certain shadow over what is happening in Ukraine,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said a day before the summit.