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Netanyahu Shortens Russia Trip in Advance of Upcoming Indictment Announcement

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend an event at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, Jan. 29, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Maxim Shemetov. – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shortened his trip to Russia, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Iran’s activates in Syria, despite fraying relations between Jerusalem and Moscow. This comes in advance of an expected announcement this week from Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit over whether the prime minister will be indicted in any of three ongoing corruption investigations.

Instead of returning to Israel on Friday morning, as initially planned, Netanyahu is scheduled to do so on Thursday evening.

“The expected announcement of plans to charge Netanyahu is a necessary step before a hearing, only after which Mandelblit can file a formal indictment. The process can take up to a year,” reported The Times of Israel.

Earlier this month, officials in Jerusalem and Moscow said the two sides would sign a free-trade agreement.

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However, relations between the two have been rocky recently following the accidental downing of a Russian plane by Syrian forces following an Israeli airstrike in October.

Last month, Russia warned Israel to stop its “arbitrary” airstrikes in Syria, saying they should be “ruled out.” This occurred just days after Israel launched a massive attack on numerous Iranian targets in Syria such as a site at Damascus International Airport, munition storage facilities, an Iranian military training camp and an Iranian intelligence site.

The strikes were in response to Iranian fighter jets firing a surface-to-surface missile at the Israeli Golan Heights the previous day.

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