Bennett lands in Russia ahead of meeting with Putin

Before departing, PM says "the relationship between Russia and Israel is a significant pillar in Israel's foreign policy".

Elad Benari , | updated: 7:47 AM

Bennett and Putin
Bennett and Putin
Reuters & Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in the Russian city of Sochi Friday morning, ahead of his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Prior to his departure, Bennett said that "the relationship between Russia and Israel is a significant pillar in Israel's foreign policy, both because of Russia's special status in the region and its international status, and because of the million Russian speakers in Israel, who form a bridge between the two countries."

He added, "In general, Israel's foreign policy and international status are significantly strengthening, there is great energy, and the direction is very good."

The two leaders will discuss a range of political, security and economic issues affecting the two countries, and important regional issues, most notably the Iranian nuclear program. This is the first introductory meeting between Prime Minister Bennett and President Putin, and the main meeting will take place in private with only interpreters.

The Israeli translator will be Minister Ze'ev Elkin, who knows the Israel-Russia relationship very well and who served as the translator at all the meetings between President Putin and then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The main issue that will come up in the conversation in Sochi will be the situation in Syria. Another issue that is expected to come up at the summit is the Russian community in Israel and the hope that the community can serve as a bridge between the countries.