Mossad Chief Meets With Russian Defense Officials in Moscow

In an unusual step, Putin's national security adviser officially announces the Israeli spy agency head's visit.

Olivier Fitoussi

Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen visited Moscow on Friday and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin's national security adviser as well as the head of SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence service.

According to a statement released by the office of the adviser, Nikolai Patrushev, the meetings with Cohen dealt with security issues related to the Middle East.

The official announcement of the Mossad chief's visit is unusual considering that his trips abroad are usually made secretly. It is possible that the statement was made due to the close ties between Patrushev and Cohen, who had previously served as national security adviser at the prime minister's bureau.

Two weeks ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow and met with Putin. A few days later, the two leaders spoke on the phone.

The main arena in which Israel and Russia are cooperating these days is the war in Syria. Both countries are trying to coordinate their military activities to avoid any encounters between their respective air forces and navies amid the Russian army's activities in war-torn Syria. Nonetheless, Israel is very concerned about the possible results of the civil war in Syria, fearing Hezbollah will have control and influence over Syria the day after the war ends.