Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that he will fly to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Though no agenda was announced, the timing of the meeting seems significant. The meeting comes just five days before Israel’s national elections on April 9.
On Monday, Netanyahu told reporters he and Putin spoke by telephone about Syria.
“We talked about the situation in Syria and the continued coordination between the IDF and the Russian Army. You know how important this relationship is for Israel,” Netanyahu said to the media.
This discussion probably focused on an airstrike targeting several Iranian military sites near Aleppo Syria last Wednesday night. the Syrian military blamed Israel for the airstrike though the IDF does not comment on military activities outside of Israel. Russia has a significant military presence in Syria supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who is embroiled in a bloody eight-year civil war.
Several Israeli media have speculated that the meeting would present a positive image for Netanyahu in the elections. Tovah Lazaroff wrote in the JPost, “As part of his election campaign, Netanyahu has hammered home his diplomatic successes including his strong ties with both Russia and the United States. Last month, Netanyahu met with US President Donald Trump in the White House. At the end of February, he also visited Putin in Moscow. This week he is hosting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Jerusalem.