(January 25, 2018 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Moscow next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss key regional issues and visit a Holocaust memorial exhibit.
The issue of Iranian forces attempting to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, near Israel’s northern border, is reportedly high on the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
Netanyahu is also likely to address Iran’s continued aggressive expansion throughout the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear issue and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The prime minister will depart for Russia next Monday and return to Israel a few hours after meeting with Putin.
Netanyahu and Putin have held several other bilateral meetings during the past two years to discuss regional issues, and to help maintain a protocol that prevents friction between their nations’ militaries in Syria. The last meeting between the two leaders was in August 2017 in the Russian resort town of Sochi.
“Look, when I saw that Russia’s placing military forces, air power, some ground power, and anti-aircraft weapons in Syria, I decided that the wisest thing to do was to go and speak to Mr. Putin directly,” Netanyahu told foreign press at a reception last week.
Both Israel and Russia respect each others’ “special interests,” said Netanyahu. “We want to make sure that this coordination, or this lack of confrontation continues.”
Since becoming actively involved in the Syrian Civil War in 2015, Russia has worked closely with Iran in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Israel, meanwhile, has allegedly conducted several missile strikes targeting Iranian-sponsored weapons convoys heading to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon, as well as strikes responding to projectiles fired during the fighting in Syria that have landed in the Jewish state.