Two Russian-Israeli hostages first to be released in ceasefire deal, Hamas says – report

Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, said that the two Russian-Israeli hostages would be the first to be released if a hostage-ceasefire agreement is made in an interview with Russian state media agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday. 

According to RIA Novosti, Hamas would prioritize the release of the dual citizens if a deal is reached.

“We have no [people with solely Russian citizenship] hostage, only Israeli citizens, but the majority have dual citizenship, Mexican, American, Ukrainian, and others,” the Russian news agency quoted Abu Marzouk as saying. “Previously, when there was an exchange, we freed one Russian outside the deal as a thank you to President Putin for his position on Palestine.” 

Russian-Israeli hostages

Abu Marzouk met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow on Monday to “discuss the issue of the Russians,” the Hamas politburo leader said.

“We said that we are waiting for Israel to agree to a ceasefire. We said that as soon as there is a decision on this, the two Russians will be the first to be released. We are waiting for the fighting to calm down, and there will be an opportunity to pick up these people and release them,” Abu Marzouk reportedly added.

Gaza hostage Alexander Trupanov in a video published by the PIJ, May 30, 2024. (credit: screenshot)

The two joint-national hostages are Alexander Lobanov, 32, a Russian-Israeli citizen who was kidnapped at the festival, and Alexander Trupanov, 28, who is allegedly being held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

PIJ posted a video of Trupanov in May. The Hostages & Missing Families Forum responded at the time by saying, “The proof of life from Alexander (Sasha) Trupanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team, which will be able to lead to a deal for the return of all the hostages.”

According to Ynet, Lobanov’s wife Michal gave birth to her second son in February while her husband was in captivity. 

“Russia’s position is firm on the Palestinian issue. Russia supports the rights of the Palestinian people,” Bogdanov reportedly said. “Russia is making efforts, interacting with various parties, to end the war in the Gaza Strip.”

According to the Palestinian Information Center, Marzouk reportedly told Russia that Hamas, as well as other resistance groups, would need a hostage-ceasefire agreement to include a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, a permanent ceasefire, humanitarian aid, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and a prisoner exchange deal.”

“Abu Marzouk expressed gratitude to Russia for its efforts aimed at strengthening stability in the region,” the PIC said.