STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Did Hamas claim that Ukraine sold them the weapons, purportedly paid for by the United States, that they used to attack Israel on October 7, 2023? No, that's not true: Hamas has made no such public claim. Additionally, there is no credible information, evidence, or reports supporting such an assertion.
BREAKING: Hamas is claiming Ukraine sold them the weapons (US-funded) that they used in the attack today against Israel.
This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:
(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Mon Oct 9 15:29:18 2023 UTC)
Nowhere to be found
While the social media post comes from the Leading Report account, no story about the claim appears on the Leading Report website. A search for "Hamas" (archived here) on October 9, 2023, produced no results, as seen below:
(Source: Leading Report screenshot taken on Mon Oct 9 18:23:39 2023 UTC)
Hamas posts official statements on its website but at the time of writing it was down. A version of the website archived by Google showed no reports or statements by Hamas claiming Ukraine sold them weapons. Versions of the website on the Internet Archive are available here.
Additionally, a Google News search (archived here) of the keywords "Hamas is claiming Ukraine sold them the weapons that they used in the attack against Israel" on October 9, 2023, yielded no matching results. However, there were several news reports suggesting Russia was trying to damage Ukraine's credibility by giving captured weapons to Hamas, a militant Palestinian movement in the West Bank and Gaza. Here are three of them:
Tobias Borck, a Middle East security expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said the purported Hamas claim "does not sound right to me at all." He continued in an October 9, 2023, email to Lead Stories:
Ukraine is in an existential battle against Russia - why would it be selling anything to Hamas?
Hamas only has one state backer: Iran. Hamas is not a proxy of Iran, but it is a partner.
A 2020 State Department report said Iran has heavily supported militant groups in the Palestinian territories:
Iran has historically provided up to $100 million annually in combined support to Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. These terrorist groups have been behind a number of deadly attacks originating from Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon, including attacks against Israeli civilians ...
Raphael Cohen, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, said in another October 9, 2023, email to Lead Stories he's "skeptical," adding that "it's not particularly likely that Ukrainians would sell weapons to Hamas ... for a variety of reasons." He listed several of them:
First off, it's going to anger the people who they rely on for support, so it would be strategically stupid. Second, they need those weapons to defend themselves, so they're not really in a place to begin supplying weapons elsewhere. And then, when you think about who would have a vested interest in leaking this story or making this story up, it sounds awfully like Russian misinformation to me, at least. In the sense that Russia has a vested interest in trying to interrupt particularly American supplies of weaponry to Ukraine.
Additionally, Cohen said such a narrative -- Ukraine supplying weapons to Hamas -- would further complicate efforts to get another round of military aid through Republicans in Congress.
Michael Meier, acting director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory Law, echoed Cohen in an October 9, 2023, email to Lead Stories. He said:
I believe it is unlikely [Ukraine] would sell weapons to Hamas. First, they need all the weapons they can get for their fight so don't really have any excess weapons to sell. Second, the US is a major supplier of arms to Ukraine. They know Israel is a major ally to the US. It makes no sense they would sell weapons to Hamas and risk that relationship.
Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to the 2023 Israel-Hamas conflict can be found here.
Other Lead Stories fact checks related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict can be found here.
2023-10-09T19:36:27Z 2023-10-09T19:36:27ZAdds paragraph on Hamas website and archived pages.