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Moscow Engages in Talks with Hamas to Address Middle East Situation

In a bid to address the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced on Friday that Moscow is continuing discussions with Hamas, emphasizing the need for careful consideration in resolving the hostage situation in the Gaza Strip.

"We are in contact with everyone," Bogdanov revealed during a press briefing, asserting that Russian officials also maintain access to the Hamas leadership. While these talks aim to facilitate the release of hostages, Bogdanov highlighted the importance of conducting these negotiations "very carefully and painstakingly."

Bogdanov disclosed that Russian representatives intend to visit the Middle East as part of their ongoing efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. This move underlines Russia's commitment to playing a constructive role in de-escalating the conflict.

The Russian official also expressed disapproval of Israel's recent call for the evacuation of civilians from northern Gaza, characterizing it as a "violation of human rights." Bogdanov asserted that this action amounted to an eviction rather than an evacuation, causing considerable disruption to the lives of those affected.

Furthermore, Bogdanov reiterated Russia's long-standing stance on the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip. He stated, "We are against occupation. There is a UN Security Council resolution that, in principle, the basis of peace and security is land in exchange for peace. Normalization in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories." This position reflects Russia's ongoing support for the pursuit of a peaceful resolution based on internationally recognized principles.

The developments in Moscow's approach to the Middle East crisis come amidst Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent call to minimize civilian casualties in the Israel-Hamas conflict. It is worth noting that this call from Putin follows his continued involvement in a military campaign against Ukraine and ongoing investigations by the International Criminal Court regarding allegations of targeting civilians in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian state TV commentators have been critical of the United States and Israel, framing the recent Hamas attack as a failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

It is important to mention that Russia has been strengthening its ties with Iran during its war in Ukraine, using Tehran-supplied drones in its conflict with Kyiv. Iran has historically been a longstanding ally of Hamas, although it has denied involvement in the latest attacks on Israel.

Concerning Russian citizens affected by the recent attacks, the Kremlin announced that there is no current information available regarding Russian citizens who went missing following the Hamas attacks. However, earlier this week, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov confirmed that at least two Russian citizens were killed in the attack by Hamas, with the Russian Embassy in Israel indicating that the number of Russian casualties continues to rise.

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