Netanyahu in Moscow: Israel not planning war
Prime Minister responds to Iranian claims that his government is eyeing a 'spring or summer offensive'.
Israel is not planning any sort of war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday following talks with Russian leaders in Moscow.
"Israel is not planning any sort of war," he told journalists following a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Netanyahu was apparently responding to claims made earlier in the day by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who reportedly accused Israel of "planning a spring or summer war".
"It was the Iranians who began talks with Syria on this issue and they are using all sorts of manipulations," Netanyahu said.
He added: "It would not surprise me if Iran's behavior is a direct result of the growing international debate on sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council."
In a recent telephone conversation, Ahmadinejad reportedly told his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad that if Israel goes to war, "we need to put an end to the Zionist regime once and for all".
Earlier on Tuesday, Putin told netanyahu that Russia would build a Holocaust remembrance museum.
In return, Netanyahu said Israel would erect a monument to the Soviet army, to be completed in time for Putin's scheduled trip to Israel next year to mark the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
Russia, which was allied to Germany until the Nazis invaded it in 1941, hopes to erase any doubt about the Soviet Union's role in the allied victory.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu appeared to be making progress toward the main goal of his visit - persuading Russia to back new international sanctions against Iran.
Israeli officials traveling with the prime minister said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had made "harsh statements on the Iranian issue, the likes of which we've never heard from him".
Russia also reportedly agreed to delay the delivery of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, another key Israeli request.