Russia's ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov rejected media reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding off making a decision about the fate of the young Israeli woman detained in Russia until Israel is able to form a government, i24 News reported in a press release on Wednesday.
Viktorov argued that the court proceedings are still ongoing and that he sees "no connection" between the ability of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government and the decision of the Russian leader.
The Tuesday report claimed that Putin doesn't wish to pardon the woman before what may very well be a third election in Israel as that would boost Netanyahu's status.
Naama Issachar was sentenced to roughly seven years in Russian prison for smuggling a small amount of cannabis in her luggage. Her lawyers argued that the drug was in her luggage and being transferred between two planes: the one in which she landed in Moscow from India and the departing one meant to take her to Israel.
Issachar was arrested and sentenced for drug dealing, despite the fact she was unable to reach the cannabis or sell it to anyone since she was in the terminal, waiting for her flight home.
In Israel, the case caused an uproar as many believe she was being kept as a bargaining chip by the Russians, who wanted to prevent the extradition of Russian hacker Alexei Burkov from Israel to the US. Burkov himself was arrested when he entered Israel from Egypt during a vacation after the US requested that he be arrested for alleged credit card fraud.
Various reports link Burkov to alleged Russian attempts to interfere with the previous US elections. These reports had been denied repeatedly by Burkov himself, who insisted that under international law he should be sent to Russia, his home, and not to the US.
Russia allegedly is unhappy with recent Israeli strikes in Syria, which were targeted against Iranian forces there. While Israel views any Iranian attempts to build its forces outside the Islamic Republic as a direct threat, Russia's point of view, as Viktorov told i24News, is that Syria requested Iranian aid and therefore they are in the country legally.
"Not only do we not support [these strikes], we condemn them," he said, "such military actions do not contribute to stabilizing the situation."
Russia had offered its support to the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad during the ongoing Syrian Civil War.