Russia says it pressed Hamas to free hostages during Moscow delegation visit

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian foreign ministry said on Friday it had received a delegation from the Hamas militant movement and had urged it to release hostages the group is holding in the Gaza strip, including three Russian nationals.

The ministry said in a statement that Mikhail Bogdanov, a deputy foreign minister, had received Hamas Politburo member Abu Marzouk.

“During the conversation, the focus was on the ongoing confrontation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone, against the backdrop of which the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip has reached catastrophic proportions,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Russian side stressed the need for the speedy release of civilians captured during the attacks of 7 October 2023 and held by Palestinian factions, including three Russian citizens – A. Kozlov, A. Lobanov and A. Trufanov.”

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Andrew Osborn)