Putin Denies Secret Meeting With Netanyahu


netanyahu-2Vladimir Putin did not meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week in Moscow, a spokesmen for the Russian prime minister said today. Dimitri Peskov told Radio Moscow that Putin had been “busy that day following his pre-prepared schedule, which did not include a meeting with Netanyahu.” Peskov, however, did not explicitly deny that a visit had taken place.

Earlier today, a senior Yerushalayim official had confirmed that Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Russia on Monday in order to discuss the Kremlin’s arms deals with Iran and Syria, and the transfer of Russian military hardware to Hezbollah.

Netanyahu’s trip was kept secret and within the prime minister’s bureau and only the military affairs secretary, General Meir Kalifi and national security advisor, Uzi Arad were privy to details of the trip. Both men accompanied Netanyahu to Moscow.

No one in the Foreign Ministry was informed of the trip, with the exception of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Defense Minister Ehud Barak was also briefed before the trip, but was ordered not to tell anyone at the Defense Ministry.

The Israeli embassy in Moscow was also not informed of the trip.

The Israeli official said the meeting focused on security issues, and dealt mainly with Russian arms deals to Iran and Syria and Israel reportedly presented the Russian officials with evidence that a great deal of weaponry was making its way into the hands of Hezbollah, posing a serious threat to Israel.

Israel is principally concerned about the sale of anti-aircraft S-300 missiles to Iran. If the missiles were to be positioned outside Iranian nuclear facilities, it would make an Israeli raid very difficult.

Israel is also worried about the sale of surface-to-surface missiles and anti-tank missiles to Syria.

The Prime Minister’s office has not issued a denial of the report of the trip.

{Haaretz/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


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