Russian leader Vladimir Putin has thrown his backing behind the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle with the Islamist Hamas faction. President Putin said Russia was downgrading its ties with Hamas, who seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody struggle with Abbas’ Fatah fighters last month. At a meeting in the Kremlin, Putin said: “We all know what hard times you and the Palestinian people are having now. We consistently advocate the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people, up to the establishment of a Palestinian state. I would like to assure you that we will support you as legitimate leader of the Palestinian people.” Egypt has come under increasing pressure from the United States and Israel to block the flow of weapons into the Gaza Strip ever since Hamas took over. At least six tunnels have been discovered along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, but Egypt maintains it needs help from the US and Israel to deploy more border guards.
The 14 kilometre frontier with Egypt is Gaza’s only land connection with the outside world not controlled by Israel, making it a crucial factor in the West’s attempts to isolate Hamas.
Russia's Putin gives Abbas his backing