Russia urges Hamas to release hostages

Israel PM says 'will not accept' Hamas demands over hostages
Source: Video Screenshot

Russia on Friday urged Hamas to release all hostages during talks with the militant group in Moscow, saying the humanitarian situation in Gaza had reached “catastrophic” levels.

Hamas militants seized about 250 hostages in an October attack on Israel, around 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza.

Russian diplomat Mikhail Bogdanov “stressed the need for the speedy release of civilians captured during the attacks of 7 October” in talks with Hamas senior official Musa Abu Marzouk, the foreign ministry said.

The Palestinian Islamist group said in a statement that the talks were “to clarify the movement’s position and policies for dealing with the file of prisoners” it was holding.

The statement added that they had also discussed securing a ceasefire in the besieged territory and Bogdanov had expressed Russia’s “support of the rights of the Palestinian people”.

Bogdanov also met with Israel’s ambassador to Moscow Simona Halperin, the Russian foreign ministry said later.

She was “informed about the targeted efforts of the Russian diplomacy in the interests of the immediate and unconditional release of civilians, including Russian citizens, held in the Gaza strip,” the ministry said in a statement.

Bogdanov also voiced Moscow’s “consistent position in support of a comprehensive Middle East settlement on the basis of the decisions of the UN.”

Russia has criticised Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and repeatedly called for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Hamas fighters launched attacks on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas.

Its military response has so far killed at least 24,762 in Gaza, around 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, according to the territory’s health ministry.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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