Russia tells Hamas to release hostages

Russia ‘called for a cessation of hostilities, immediate solution to all emerging humanitarian problems, including the release of hostages.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

After consultations with Palestinian Authority leaders and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Russia is called on the Hamas terrorist organization to release hostages taken from Israel on October 7th.

According to Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met on Monday with representatives of Hamas and other Palestinian groups and reportedly discussed freeing hostages.

After speaking with Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk, Secretary General of the Palestinian Democratic Union Saleh Rafat, and senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine official Maher Taher, Mikhail Bogdanov released a statement about the meeting.

“During the conversations, a set of issues related to the sharp escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was discussed, with an emphasis on the emerging military and humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.”

He continued, “At the same time, the Russian side confirmed the principled position on the need for a cessation of hostilities and an immediate solution to all emerging humanitarian problems, including the release of hostages.”

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It wasn’t certain whether Bogsanov was speaking about the release of all hostages or just those who have Russian citizenship.

Although mainly women and children were freed during the week-long ceasefire in late November, Hamas released Roni Krivoi, a dual Israeli and Russian citizen, as a gesture of goodwill to Russia.

Bogsanov’s statement follows reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly had an hour-long conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night.

Netanyahu criticized Putin for his negative comments about Israel throughout the war and Russia’s warming of relations with Iran. 

This conversation was reportedly the first time Prime Minister Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin have spoken since October.

Although Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned Hamas atrocities on October 7th, he criticized Israel’s response and “the collective punishment of millions of Palestinian people with indiscriminate shelling.”

In addition, at the UN, Russia attempted to pressure Israel into an immediate, unconditional ceasefire as early as October 14th.