President Shimon Peres is due to fly to Moscow on Tuesday to ask Russian
President Vladimir Putin to limit the quality and quantity of weapons sold to elements hostile to Israel, especially surface-to-air missiles.

In the Kremlin on Thursday, the two men will also discuss Syria, Iran's nuclear efforts and other Mideast issues. The meeting will be open to the press and the two sides will issue joint statements.

The event will be one of Putin's rare public appearances in recent weeks after he canceled most of his public itinerary.

Amid rumors that Putin suffered a serious injury or illness, Kremlin sources have told reporters that the president suffered a sports injury and is having trouble walking.

Both men will be sitting down during the event. Putin insisted on holding the Kremlin meeting but canceled his participation in another event with Peres, the inauguration of Moscow's Jewish Museum of Tolerance.

In the run-up to the Russia trip, Peres was briefed by Benny Gantz, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces; Tamir Prado, the head of the Mossad spy agency; and Yoram Cohen, the head of the Shin Bet security service.

This will be Peres' third visit to Moscow as president. He was twice the guest of President Dmitry Medvedev, who served as president while Putin was prime minister.

During these visits, Peres also asked Moscow to limit arms sales to the Middle East, despite the interests of Russia's military industry. This week, Russian Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov said some of these deals were contracts and obligations undertaken before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Peres, who will fly to Moscow and back on regular El Al flights, will return to Israel on Friday. His will also meet with members of the local Jewish community and receive an honorary award from the Russian Academy of Sciences.