Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he plans to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 21 strengthening coordination between the two countries’ military on Syria.
“On Thursday, I will meet in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We will continue discussing enhancing coordination mechanism to avoid clashes between the Israeli and Russian military,” Netanyahu told a weekly cabinet meeting, according to his press service.
“This is vital, especially for our [Tel Aviv’s] efforts on ensuring Israel’s freedom of steps against Iran and its satellites, who declare plans to use Syria as a front of their war to destroy Israel,” the premier said.
Netanyahu’s Spokesperson Anna Jonathan-Leus told TASS earlier that the Israeli prime minister planned to meet with the Russian president in Moscow on February 21. It will be Netanyahu’s first visit to Russia following the downing of Russia’s Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea.
On September 17, 2018 Russia’s Il-20 aircraft was accidentally downed by Syrian air defenses over the Mediterranean Sea when it was returning to the Hmeymim airbase. Russian top brass said a missile from Syria’s S-200 system downed the aircraft when it targeted four Israeli F-16 fighter jets, which attacked facilities in Latakia.
All 15 Russian crew members were killed in the tragedy. The Israeli Air Force and those who made the decision to use the Il-20 aircraft as cover are solely to blame for its crash, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said.
On November 11, 2018, Putin and Netanyahu held a brief meeting in Paris. A few days later, the Russian president said at a press conference in Singapore that they had discussed the Il-20 incident.