ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Russian deputy foreign minister speaks with Hamas, demands release of Gaza hostages

Protesters gather with signs showing portraits of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since Hamas's October 7 massacre during a demonstration calling for their release at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, on December 9, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Protesters gather with signs showing portraits of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since Hamas's October 7 massacre during a demonstration calling for their release at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, on December 9, 2023. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov speaks with Hamas representatives and demands the release of hostages held in Gaza.

Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency says Bogdanov spoke with deputy chairman of the Hamas politburo Mousa Abu Marzouk, secretary general of the Palestinian Democratic Union Saleh Rafat, and senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine official Maher Taher.

“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,” the Russian foreign ministry says, according to TASS.

“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,” the statement says.

Netanyahu spoke with Putin for nearly an hour yesterday, criticizing Moscow’s alliance with Iran and expressing dissatisfaction with its stance on Israel’s war with Hamas.

Since war broke out on October 7, Russia has regularly criticized Israel, including in the UN Security Council, while at the same time hosting leaders of the Hamas terror group in a development widely seen as an extension of its increasingly friendly ties with Iran.

Three hostages holding Russian citizenship have been released by the terror group in gestures of “gratitude” from the terror group to Putin.

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