Elections looming, Netanyahu to head to Moscow to meet Putin

April 2, 2019
A man works on a Likud party election campaign billboard depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, and his party candidates, in Petah Tikva, Israel, Monday, April 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Russia this week for talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Their meeting on Thursday will take place just five days before Israel’s national elections next week. Netanyahu’s office says he will be visiting Moscow, but doesn’t state the purpose of the visit.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday confirmed the upcoming visit, saying that it will be a brief meeting for the two leaders to “compare notes.”

Netanyahu has met with Putin three times over the past year, most recently in February, to discuss military coordination between Russia and Israel in neighboring Syria.

Israel and Russia maintain a hotline to prevent their air forces from clashing over Syria. Syrian forces downed a Russian warplane in September while responding to an Israeli air strike.

Netanyahu seeks re-election as prime minister in the April 9 balloting but faces possible indictment on corruption charges and stiff opposition in the vote.

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