November 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Releases Russian Hostage ‘In Appreciation’ of Moscow

November 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Releases Russian Hostage ‘In Appreciation’ of Moscow

Latest Developments

Among Israeli hostages released from Gaza is a Russian-Israeli dual-national whose fate was decided in separate Hamas-Kremlin contacts. Roni Kriboy, 25, went free on November 26 along with 13 Israeli women and children who were part of the four-day truce agreement mediated by Qatar and Egypt. Hamas said it handed over Kriboy as well “in appreciation” of Russia, the only world power that has openly engaged with the Palestinian terrorist group since the Gaza war erupted. The Russian Foreign Ministry hosted a Hamas delegation in Moscow on October 26.

According to the Israeli government, seven Russian citizens were among the approximately 240 people taken hostage by Hamas during its October 7 cross-border killing spree. That would suggest that six Russian citizens remain in captivity and of interest to Moscow.

Hamas appears to have treated Kriboy better than other hostages while in captivity. Still, his family said that he mounted a four-day escape after the building in which he was being held collapsed during an Israeli barrage, only to be recaptured by ordinary Palestinians and returned to his captors while trying to reach the Israeli border. Upon his release, his only injuries were lacerations to his head sustained during the building collapse, his family said.

Expert Analysis

“While any freeing of hostages is to be welcomed, by whatever means necessary, Israel needs no more reminders that Putin’s Russia is an enemy state with growing ties to both Hamas and its patron in Tehran. Jerusalem need to be wary of any deals with Putin that undermine its necessary objective of destroying Hamas and returning safety back to the citizens of the south of Israel.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Given that Hamas’s patron — the Islamist regime in Tehran — enjoys close ties with the Kremlin, it is no surprise that Hamas wishes to align itself with Putin. Moscow has legitimized Hamas as Western capitals have condemned the Iran-backed terror organization and looked at new ways to sanction the regime in Gaza. We will likely see a continued dialogue between Hamas and the Kremlin, as the relationship strengthens the mullahs in Iran and fortifies the anti-democracy and anti-Western axis that Moscow and Tehran champion.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hamas is doing Russia favors. Over the past few years, senior Russian officials in Moscow have held meetings with Hamas members and other Palestinian terrorist groups. It favors Hamas to keep good relations with the Kremlin as it continues to seek international legitimacy.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hamas Releases Some Hostages, Roughly 200 Remain Unaccounted For,” FDD Flash Brief

Pause in Fighting Begins Between Israel and Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Continues to Deny Red Cross Access to Hostages, Proof of Life,” FDD Flash Brief “Gaza Hospital Basement Used to Confine Hostages, Israel Finds,” FDD Flash Brief


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