Vladimir Putin is considering a pardon for an Israeli woman jailed in Russia on drug charges, a Russian media outlet reported Thursday, days before the president is due to arrive in Israel for a Holocaust remembrance service attended by dozens of heads of state.
According to the report, the Kremlin is still extremely displeased, however. with Israel's extradition of a Russian hacker to the U.S. late last year.
"We wanted this process to be be a two-way street," a Russian official told the outlet.
Naama Issachar, a 26-year-old American-Israeli from Tel Aviv, was jailed in April for seven and a half years after she was arrested at a Moscow airport with 9 grams of cannabis in her luggage. She was on a stopover in Russia as she made her way back to Israel from India.
The report in the Russian media comes hours after Putin spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone.
The conversation about recent regional developments also touched on Issachar's case, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
"The conversation was warm and to the point and strengthened Netanyahu's optimism that the issue of the release of Naama Issachar is advancing towards a solution," the statement read.
Putin is scheduled to arrive on a one-day trip to Israel, during which he will participate in the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem on January 23, and inaugurate a monument in memory of the victims of the siege of Leningrad at Sacher Garden in Jerusalem.
Putin will also meet separately with President Reuven Rivlin and Netanyahu .
Issachar's mother, Yaffa, said that Netanyahu spoke to her after his conversation with Putin and told her to remain strong and optimistic.
"The prime minister told me that it is my responsibility to maintain Naama's mental toughness as long as she is Russian jail while remaining strong and optimistic, because the prime minister of Israel is obligated to release Naama," Issachar told Ynet.
"I am optimistic and ask with all my heart from the Russian president to act like a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people and the leader of a world power – and release my Naama home to Israel."