Netanyahu heads to meet Putin in Russian, discuss Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has departed for Sochi on Thursday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the PM’s office said.

His one-day trip will also include a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu. He is accompanied by top Israeli security officers, including head of National Security Council, head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, and head of the Military Operations Directorate.

“The leaders will discuss regional issues including the situation in Syria, with an emphasis on tightening the military coordination mechanisms,” the office said in a statement.

Ahead of his departure, Netanyahu said the main purpose of his visit is advancing the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor.

He said it is “important” for Israel to maintain the ability to carry out airstrikes on targets of Iranian and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Lebanese armed group.

Israel has carried out airstrikes in Syria, claiming they targeted Iranian sites.