Netanyahu and Putin Discuss Coronavirus Cooperation, Middle East Security

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019.Credit: Haim Zach/GPO
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed "regional security issues, Iranian aggression and the situation in Syria," as well as advancing cooperation between the two countries against coronavirus on Wednesday, the Prime Minister's Office said.

Last week, Netanyahu said in his online speech at the UN General Assembly that Hezbollah holds a secret missile depot in the Janah neighborhood of Beirut, and called on the Lebanese people to rise up against the Shi'ite Muslim group.  

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Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, dismissed Netanyahu's claims, saying he is trying to "incite the Lebanese people against Hezbollah, as usual."

Although President Putin's intervention in the Syrian civil war proved critical for the survival of Bashar Assad's regime, and the country has close ties to Iran, Israel and Russia have continued to enjoy warm relations.

The discussions of cooperation in tackling COVID-19 come amid Israel's soaring infection rates and growing civil strife, as it approaches the third week of its second national lockdown. On Wednesday, Israel also ramped up its efforts to enlist the IDF in its efforts to combat the virus.

Meanwhile, Russia's infection rates reached their highest point since May this month, though its "Sputnik-V" COVID-19 vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in early-stage trials, according to results published by The Lancet medical journal in September.  

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