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February 27, 2019 2:24 pm

Netanyahu After Kremlin Meeting: Putin ‘Showed an Understanding of Israel’s Security Needs’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and his wife Sara Netanyahu attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Feb. 27, 2019. Photo: Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin / Kremlin via Reuters.

Following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “showed an understanding of Israel’s security needs” regarding Iran’s presence in Syria.

According to the Hebrew news site Mako, Netanyahu said the conversation with the Russian leader had gone extremely well, and was focused on Iranian entrenchment in the Jewish state’s neighbor to the northeast.

“We showed examples of this entrenchment,” Netanyahu stated, “and also the steps we are taking to prevent it.”

“President Putin said the meeting was useful,” the Israeli prime minister added. “Our relationship that everyone said would be rocky — that’s not the case at all. We are on the path of cooperation.”

A rupture in Israel-Russia relations occurred last year when Russia blamed Israel for the destruction of one of its military planes that was accidentally shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

Netanyahu said he also spoke with Putin about Russia’s delivery of the S-300 air defense system to Syria, which Israel opposed.

“Israel will continue to act as required in order to defend itself,” Netanyahu said, but also noted that Israel would do so in collaboration with Russia.

Regarding Iran, Netanyahu said, “The complete withdrawal of all Iranian forces from Syria, is a common declared goal” of both Israel and Russia.

The prime minister stated that he and Putin had discussed the issue in great detail and that the head of Israel’s National Security Council would be in charge of pursuing further dialogue.

At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu told Putin, “Mr. President, I have counted eleven meetings between us since September 2015. The direct link between us is a vital component in preventing risks and friction between our militaries and contributes to security and stability in the region.”

“The greatest threat to stability and security in the region comes from Iran and its proxies,” Netanyahu asserted.

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