Netanyahu to meet with Putin in Russia next week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Moscow on Thursday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the two leaders will discuss a variety of issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the crisis in Syria.

The meeting will be held about a month after Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited the Kremlin and met with Putin. At that meeting, the Russian president told Rivlin that he would meet with Netanyahu soon.

“The relationship between Israel and Russia has a long history. In Israel live around a million and a half people from the former Soviet Union, who speak Russian, know Russian culture, and have a Russian mentality. They maintain ties with friends and family who remained in Russia, and this adds something very special to our relations,” Putin told Rivlin during their meeting.

The Israeli president said that “We enjoy cooperation in a range of fields, and we also both know what it means to have to deal with terror and fundamentalism. As a Jew, I want to say that we will never forget the Russian people and the Red Army for their victory over the Nazis.”

Rivlin was the first person with whom Putin met after the Russian withdrawal from Syria.

During his meeting with Netanyahu, the issue of the S-300 aerial defense system Russia had sold Iran might come up, after a first delivery of the missiles arrived in Tehran this week.

In Netanyahu and Putin’s previous meeting, the two leaders spoke highly of the security coordination between Israel and Russia as the latter was fighting in Syria to prevent “unnecessary accidents.”

Reuters reported on Friday that Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani has flown to Moscow for talks with Russia’s military and political leadership.

“General Soleimani travelled to Moscow last night to discuss issues including the delivery of S300s and further military cooperation,” one senior Iranian security official told Reuters, referring to an air defense system Russia is supplying Iran.

A Kremlin spokesman said that a meeting with Soleimani was not on President Putin’s schedule.