Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Vladimir Putin that Iran is out to destroy his country, pressing his appeal for Russian help to keep Tehran from using Syria as a launching pad to attack the Jewish state.
Netanyahu opened the talks in the Kremlin on Wednesday amid rising tensions over the possible delivery of Russian S-300 air-defense missile systems to Syria. After attending a military parade in Moscow commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, the Israeli leader warned that seven decades after the Holocaust, “there is a country in the Middle East, Iran, which calls for the destruction of another 6 million Jews.”
The visit comes a day after a new strike targeting Iranian forces in Syria that the government in Damascus said was carried out by Israel. The risk of a direct clash between the Jewish state and the Islamic Republic has been rising amid concerns in Israel about the growing threat from Iran’s military and allied militias’ presence on its doorstep.
Putin described the situation in the Middle East as “very tense,” telling Netanyahu that he’s hopeful “we manage to find a way to defuse” the conflicts.
Before he left for Moscow, the Israeli premier said that his talks with Putin were “especially” important. “In light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to ensure the continued coordination” between the militaries of Russia and Israel, he said.
(c) 2018, Bloomberg · Henry Meyer, Andrey Biryukov, David Wainer