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Netanyahu to meet Putin in Moscow amid strained ties

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a statement on Nov. 24, 2015, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. (U.S. State Department/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid tensions over the grinding war in Syria and Moscow’s support for Iran.

Ahead of the February 27 visit to Moscow, Netanyahu said the talks would focus on Israeli efforts to prevent Iran from establishing a long-term presence in Syria.

“We will continue to act until we get the Iranians out of Syria because Iran threatens to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said in a video address.

Ties between Moscow and Tel Aviv have been strained since September when a Russian reconnaissance plane was shot down off the Syrian coast.

All 15 Russian personnel aboard the plane were killed.

Russia said that Israeli warplanes were to blame, for hiding behind the Russian plane in an effort to evade Syrian air defenses.

Russia has maintained relations with Israel despite Moscow’s support for Iran, as well as its support for the Syrian government.