Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss the release of Israeli citizen Naama Issachar during a visit to Israel on Thursday with her mother and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Wednesday.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly asked about her release and (President Reuven) Rivlin sent a letter. This humanitarian aspect of the issue will be discussed at the meeting," Ushakov said.
When asked about the reported Israeli decision to pass control over Alexander's Courtyard in Jerusalem's Old City to Russia to end a long-running controversy, Ushakov said it reflected warm Russian-Israeli relations, but he denied a link between the move and Issachar's fate.
"Legal formalities haven't been finalized yet, but a positive trend is visible," he said about the property transfer. "The process is going in the right direction."
Putin will be joining dozens of other world leaders at an International Holocaust Forum event at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
The 26-year-old Issachar is currently serving a 7.5-year prison sentence for possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana while on a layover in Moscow as she returned to Israel from India last April. A higher court in Moscow upheld the verdict last month.
Naama's mother, Yaffa Issachar, met with National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to hear the latest developments in the bid to secure her daughter's release.
Issachar praised Netanyahu for indicating that Naama's ordeal would soon be over following a conversation he had with Putin last week.
"We've reached the moment of truth," Issachar said at Ben-Gurion Airport as she returned from Russia.
"We'll know this week when Naama will be released. I want to go see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and show him my support. I believe that Putin will pardon her."
Issachar also urged supporters and activists for the release of her daughter not to picket Putin's visit in Israel.
"I appreciate everything you have done to bring Naama's plight to the public ear, but now is the time to let negotiations play out," she said.
Activists were planning to disrupt Putin's visit in protest of Naama's ongoing incarceration for what they say was a trumped-up charge and use of a young Israeli woman as a political pawn.