SOCHI — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, five days before Israel's election.
The meeting began after an almost three-hour delay. Netanyahu also met earlier with Russia's defense minister, Sergey Shoygu.
It comes after the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned on Wedenesday Netanyahu’s pledge to annex parts of the West Bank following Israel's election on September 17.
in a joint press conference, Netanyahu said that "Our tightening relations [with Russia] are the result of our mutual policy as well as the personal bond we share. This bond has prevented unnecessary and dangerous friction between our armies."
"This is a fundamental component of the regional stability. Security coordination is always important, but it is especially important now, in light of the past month's sharp spike in the number and the scope of Iran's attempts to harm Israel from Syrian territory and transfer precision missiles to Syria," Netanyahu said.
"We won't tolerate this threat and therefore must avoid any friction between us," the premier added.
Putin said he knows Israel will face a historic challenge on Election Day on September 17. "We know that a million and a half Soviet Union repatriates are currently residing in Israel. We always treated them as our people. It is extremely important to us who is elected to the next Knesset and we hope they will maintain the friendship between our nations and further strengthen our relationship."
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The meeting concluded after three hours, with Netanyahu departing back to Israel.