Barak to Visit Russia Amid Concern Over Arms Sale to Syria

Defense Minister Barak will also discuss Russian interest in purchasing Israeli arms, according to an Israeli official.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will visit Russia next week to discuss Israel's security concerns and Russian interest in purchasing Israeli arms, an Israeli official said on Monday.

Israel is worried by Iranian and Syrian efforts to acquire Russian anti-aircraft missile systems and has long lobbied Moscow to support UN Security Council sanctions targeting Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

Russia has been building up a fleet of Israeli-made spy drones since Georgia used such Israeli aircraft against Russian armed forces in their brief 2008 war.

Asked about Barak's Sept. 5 visit, an Israeli official said: "Moscow is a very important power to us in terms of defense and diplomacy. As far as what we want from them, we see room for accommodation and the same applies to what they want from us."

Ehud Barak
Tomer Appelbaum

Despite Israel's objections, Russia said on Sunday it will not cancel its sale of advanced missiles to Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday had asked his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to cancel the sale of long-range surface-to-sea cruise missiles to the Syrian Army.