Netanyahu meets senior Russian officials

Russian representatives reiterate Russia's commitment to the maintenance of Israel's security.

Ben Ariel ,

Netanyahu meets Russian representatives
Netanyahu meets Russian representatives
Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday evening met at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem with Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Syrian affairs, Alexander Lavrentiev, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.

Also attending the meeting were National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and GOC Operations Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva.

Among the issues discussed were Iran and the situation in Syria, and strengthening the security coordination mechanism between the militaries in order to prevent friction.

The Russian representatives reiterated Russia's commitment to the maintenance of Israel's national security, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The meeting follows last week’s Israeli air strikes on Iranian targets in Damascus, which came in retaliation for the launching of a surface-to-surface rocket by Iranian Quds toward the northern Golan Heights.

Russia and Israel had in the past been coordinated regarding Israeli air strikes in Syria, but relations had cooled since the downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane over Syria in September of 2018.

Russian officials blamed Israel for the downing of the plane and later refused to accept the validity of Israel’s investigation into the incident.

In recent weeks there have been signs that the Israeli-Russian coordination is resuming. Netanyahu in early January held talks with Putin for the first time since Washington's shock announcement it was withdrawing its forces from Syria.

Netanyahu recently broke with his country’s long-standing policy of not publicly accepting responsibility for airstrikes in Syria, and acknowledged that Israel’s air force had attacked Iranian weapons depots at the Damascus International Airport.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry last week urged Israel to cease its air strikes in Syria, calling the strikes “arbitrary.”