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)

Russia Slams Netanyahu Annexation Vow ahead of PM’s Sochi Visit

Russia has slammed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex territories in the West Bank if he is re-elected in the September 17 national election. The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the proposed plan, saying such a move “could lead to a sharp escalation of tension in the region and undermine hopes for the establishment of a long-awaited peace between Israel and the Arab neighbors.” The denunciation came hours before Netanyahu’s scheduled departure to Sochi, where on Thursday he will meet with President Vladimir Putin. Earlier this week, the Israeli premier said the meeting would focus on “the continuation of military coordination [in Syria] so as to prevent a collision, given the upsurge in activity against us by Iran and its proxies, and our increased activity against them.” In 2015, the two countries set up a de-confliction mechanism geared toward preventing accidents in Syria’s skies, used repeatedly by Israeli fighter jets to target Iranian assets.

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