Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday in Moscow that he appreciated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the opportunity to "discuss regional problems."
Netanyahu also thanked Putin for his attempts to resolve the crises and lift the threats in a "prudent and responsible manner," according to a statement issued by the Israeli Prime Minister Office on Wednesday afternoon.
Netanyahu flew to Moscow on Wednesday to meet Putin, hours after US President Donald Trump quit the Iran nuclear deal and after Syria accused Israel of carrying out a fresh missile strike on an army base near Damascus.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that the overnight airstrike near Damascus killed at least 15 people, including eight Iranians. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility. But the Israelis have said they are on high alert for a possible attack by Iranian forces in Syria, after Tehran vowed to avenge the April 9 strike. Israel has pledged to prevent Iran and Hezbollah from forming a Lebanese-Syria front against it.
At the meeting, Netanyahu told Putin that it is "unbelievable" that 73 years after the Holocaust, Iran is calling for seeking the destruction of another six million Jews. Netanyahu noted that Jews "have never forgotten the great lesson facing a murderous ideology."
"I am very moved that you invited me to this parade as prime minister of Israel, as head of the state of the Jews, and you mentioned the Holocaust of the Jews today," said Netanyahu. "This is additional testimony to the deep ties between our two peoples and I thank you for this."
Russia unlikely to limit Israeli actions in Syria
"In previous meetings, given statements that were putatively attributed to - or were made by - the Russian side, it was meant to have limited our freedom of action or harm other interests and that didn’t happen, and I have no basis to think that this time will be different,” he told reporters in a phone briefing.
Netanyahu said Wednesday morning upon leaving for Moscow that in light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to "ensure the continued coordination" between the Russian military and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
"The meetings between us are always important and this one is especially so," he said.
Netanyahu accused Iran of making preparations to attack Israel in the televised statement issued Tuesday evening after Trump announced the administration will reinstate the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.
"For the past months, Iran has been transferring weapons to its forces in Syria," the prime minister said.
Before the two leaders' meeting, Netanyahu, along with Putin and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic attended the parade commemorating victory over Nazi Germany 73 years ago in Red Square in Moscow.
Source(s): Reuters, Xinhua News Agency