Netanyahu, Putin to hold meeting after downing of Russian plane

Netanyahu, Putin to hold meeting after downing of Russian plane

JERUSALEM (Rahnuma): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he and his Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to meet, for the first time after Russia held Israel accountable for the downing of a Russian plane in Syria.

“A short time ago I spoke with President Putin,” Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “We agreed to meet soon in order to continue the important inter-military security coordination,” he added.

He reiterated his warning that Israel “will act at all times to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria and to thwart the transfer of lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Last month, a Russian reconnaissance plane was mistakenly downed by anti-aircraft Syrian fire when Israel was conducting an airstrike on Syria’s Latakia province at the same time. The plane’s 15 crew members were killed.

The Russia defense ministry said Israel holds the entire responsibility for the incident. According to the ministry, the Israeli air force provided misleading information about the location of its airstrikes on sites in Syria, preventing the Russian aircraft which was in the area from flying to a safe zone.

Israel rejected the charges.

Russia has started to provide the Syrian army S-300 air defense system in the wake of the incident.

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