A delegation from Hamas visited Moscow on Thursday for talks on the release of foreign hostages including Russian citizens that the group is currently holding in Gaza, Russian news agencies reported, citing the foreign ministry.
Senior Hamas member Abu Marzouk was among those attending the talks, TASS reported.
“Contacts were held with him in continuation of the Russian line on the immediate release of foreign hostages in the Gaza Strip. Issues related to ensuring the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens from the territory of the Palestinian enclave were also discussed,” TASS said.
Russia has ties to all key players in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the group that controls Gaza.
Moscow has repeatedly blamed the current crisis on the failure of US diplomacy, and called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the resumption of talks aimed at finding a peace settlement.
Read also: Hamas releases two Israeli captives as conflict escalates
Hamas released its own statement in which it praised the efforts of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and foreign ministry to end what it called “the crimes of Israel that are supported by the West”, according to Russia’s RIA news agency.
Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas in retaliation for an Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,400 people. Israel has struck Gaza from the air, imposed a siege on the enclave of 2.3 million people and is preparing a ground invasion. Palestinian authorities say more than 6,500 have been killed.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a weekly briefing earlier on Thursday that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baghiri Kani was also currently visiting Moscow.
Zakharova gave no further details. Baghiri Kani is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Iran is a strong backer of Hamas in its conflict with Hamas.
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