>> UPDATE ON NETANYAHU’S EMERGENCY TRIP TO RUSSIA:
- Israel ‘will bring down Assad’ if he retaliates for future airstrikes — Jerusalem conveys unprecedented threat to Syrian president, unnamed officials say; Israeli source tells NY Times further raids contemplated on weapons shipments (Times of Israel)
- Israel’s MI chief accompanied Netanyahu to Putin meet, gave fresh intel on Syria
- Netanyahu’s message to Putin
- As Netanyahu meets Putin, report suggests S-300 already in Syria
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Sochi, Russia on Tuesday and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Haaretz reports. “Netanyahu said ahead of the meeting with Putin that the Middle East is unstable and volatile and therefore he is interested in discussing with Putin ways to ‘make it more secure and stable.'”
“According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu will ask the Russian president not to supply advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria,” the Israeli newspaper reports. “Netanyahu, who was invited to Russia on March 20, is also expected to discuss both the Syrian civil war and the Iranian nuclear program with Putin. Last Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had no new plans to sell an advanced air defense system to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but left open the possibility that it could ship such systems to Damascus under an existing contract.”
More excerpts from the article:
- The Wall Street Journal has reported that Israel told the United States about an imminent Russian deal to sell S-300 missile systems that would significantly boost Syria’s ability to stave off intervention in the civil war.
- Senior Israeli officials said Netanyahu had brought up the missile issue in a telephone conversation with Putin, and in another conversation that happened Wednesday with U.S. President Barack Obama.
- The Journal said the deal had been signed in 2010 and would be carried out in the next three months.
- Syria had already made the first payment of the $900 million deal to Russia and would receive six launchers and around 144 missiles, it said.
- “Russia is not planning to sell,” Lavrov said when asked about the reports during a visit to Warsaw. “Russia already sold them a long time ago. It has signed the contracts and is completing deliveries, in line with the agreed contracts, of equipment which is anti-aircraft technology.”