Russia Sees Coordination on Syria Continuing After Israel Condemns Attack on Ukraine

Moscow says coordination with Jerusalem over Syria is 'useful and will continue to work,' after Israel condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine

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A mural depicting the colors of the Russian and Ukrainian flags, painted by Syrian artists to protest against Russia's military operation in Ukraine, in Syria's Idlib province on Thursday.
A mural depicting the colors of the Russian and Ukrainian flags, painted by Syrian artists to protest against Russia's military operation in Ukraine, in Syria's Idlib province on Thursday.Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR - AFP

Russia sees its military coordination with Israel over Syria continuing, the Russian embassy said on Saturday, after Moscow signalled displeasure with Israeli statements about the Ukraine crisis.

Following the 2015 Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war, Israel set up a "deconfliction mechanism" with the big power to prevent them clashing inadvertently during Israeli strikes against Iranian deployments and arms transfers in the neighboring Arab state.

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"Our military officials discuss the practical issues of this substantively on a daily basis. This mechanism has proven to be useful and will continue to work," the Russian embassy in Israel said in a statement.

But while voicing support for Israel's security needs, it also reiterated opposition to violations of Syrian sovereignty.

The Israeli military, asked about prospects for continued coordination with Russia over Syria, said only that its forces "will act when needed to counter threats, defend the people of Israel and our sovereignty".

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during their meeting, in Sochi, October 22 2021. Credit: Yevgeny BIYATOV / Sputnik / AFP

Israel, whose main ally is the United States, condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday as "a serious violation of international order" and has since remained largely muted on Moscow's actions.

In response, Moscow – which calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" – summoned the Israeli ambassador for talks. Russia's UN mission restated opposition to Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights. Israel captured the strategic plateau from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed it, a move that won U.S. recognition in 2019.

The United States said on Thursday that there were no changes in its deconfliction mechanism with Russia over Syria, though the Ukraine crisis has sent Washington-Moscow relations spiraling.

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