In Jerusalem, Putin Tells Mother of Israeli Jailed in Russia: ‘Everything Will Be Okay’

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrived in Israel for the World Holocaust Forum on Thursday, said in a joint press statement alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "everything will be okay" regarding the case of a jailed Israeli woman held in Russia on drug charges. 

Putin made the statement after he met with Yaffa Issachar, the mother of 26-year-old Naama who has been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for carrying hashish into the Moscow airport en route to Israel from India. 

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 57

Hijacking the Holocaust for Putin, politics and powerHaaretz Weekly Ep. 57

>> Read more: Live updates: World Holocaust Forum in Israel ■ Putin wants historic gestures from Netanyahu, not military cooperation, to release jailed Israeli | Analysis

Sources in the Israeli prime minister's office said that significant progress on the matter was achieved Thursday "thanks to the close and personal relations between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Putin." The sources noted that Netanyahu had brought up the subject with the Russian leader on seven separate occasions. 

Issachar's family had expressed hope that Putin would announce he will pardon their daughter and release her from prison, but he did not make such a statement.

Naama Issachar gestures during an appeal hearings in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019.Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ AP

Last week, Netanyahu said he was "optimistic" after discussing the release of Issachar with Putin, amid reports of a breakthrough in talks. 

Issachar's high-profile imprisonment was seen as a bargaining chip in efforts to prevent the extradition of Russian hacker Aleksey Burkov, who was held in Israel but turned over to the United States in November.