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Putin, Netanyahu, meet in Moscow ahead of Israeli elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, five days before parliamentary elections are due to begin in Israel.

The vote is largely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu, who has campaigned on his foreign policy prowess and relations with world leaders.

The trip to Moscow, made at Netanyahu’s request, came a week after a visit to Washington where he met US President Donald Trump at the White House.

The Israeli prime minister, who is facing a tough election challenge from a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy record and his ties with Trump.

Netanyahu also hosted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Jerusalem earlier this week.

He is seeking a fifth term in the elections next Tuesday.

Before departing from Israel, Netanyahu said he and Putin would “discuss events in Syria”, including the “special coordination between our militaries”.

The Kremlin had said earlier this week the two would “compare notes” during a brief meeting, the two leaders’ third in recent months. Israel and Russia have a military hotline to coordinate air force operations over neighbouring Syria, where a civil war recently entered its ninth year.

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