Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attend a joint press conference after their meeting at Putin's residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. (Photo: MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Netanyahu Announces Moscow Visit As Russian-made S-300 System Nears Readiness In Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to Moscow on February 21 for his 11th meeting with President Vladimir Putin since Russia in 2015 intervened militarily in the war in Syria. The announcement came just hours before satellite images were published showing Russian-made S-300 missile defense batteries transferred to the Assad regime set up and on the verge of becoming operational. The advanced system was provided to Damascus following the downing in September of a Russian spy plane by Syrian forces, an incident Moscow nevertheless blamed on Israel which minutes earlier had conducted an aerial raid targeting a nearby Iranian weapons depot. “We’re committed to continue…preventing Iran from creating another war-front against us, right here opposite the Golan Heights. This is the main subject I will be discussing with President Putin,” Netanyahu asserted at a press conference. To this end, the two leaders will attempt to strengthen the de-confliction mechanism between the countries’ militaries devised to facilitate cooperation in Syria and avert accidents such as the one last year. The trip to Moscow is one of many Netanyahu is expected to make ahead of the April 9 elections, in addition to visiting Poland and India later this month and the United States and Morocco in March.

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