Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Moscow on Monday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the premier's office said, with the two having held talks in recent months over the conflict in Syria.
Netanyahu's two-day trip is his third to Russia since September and also comes as the two nations mark 25 years since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.
The Israeli premier's office did not provide details on the talks, but Syria is likely to play a prominent part.
With both Israel and Russia having carried out military operations in war-torn Syria, the two countries have sought to coordinate their actions to avoid accidental clashes.
Russian forces have backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the conflict.
Israel opposes Assad but has sought to avoid being dragged into the war. It fears however that the chaos in the neighbouring country could help strengthen its arch-enemy Hezbollah.
Netanyahu admitted publicly for the first time in April that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys in Syria which were transporting weapons to the Lebanese Shiite militia, which fights alongside Assad's forces.
In September, Netanyahu and Putin agreed to set up a "hotline" to avoid accidental clashes.
In a further sign of cooperation, the prime minister's office said recently that Moscow had agreed to return an Israeli tank taken by Syrian forces in the 1982 Lebanon war and later handed over to Russia, where it has been kept in a museum.
Israel had sought the return of the tank in part to console the families of soldiers missing in action since the battle in which it was taken.
"To the families of MIAs Zechariah Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehudah Katz, there has been nothing to remember the boys by and no grave to visit for 34 years now," Netanyahu said last week.
"The tank is the only evidence of the battle and now it is coming back to Israel thanks to President Putin's response to my request."
Information about the tunnel system came from the testimony of a 17-year-old Hamas member who was picked up by Israeli troops last month after he illegally crossed into Israel from Gaza, the Shin Bet security service said.
To read the Western mainstream media, we would be led to believe that the big, bad Russian Bear, with Vladimir Putin atop, shaking a fistful of nuclear warheads, is confronting the West in the most threatening manner imaginable. We should believe Russia is provoking at every turn, frothing at the mouth and threatening to invade the Baltic countries and perhaps all Western Europe. We would feel quite justified, as the propaganda spin of Washington claims, to protect America’s European allies from surprise Russian nuclear attack by surrounding Russia with anti-Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) systems.
So we as citizens in the Western NATO countries have little reaction at all when we read some days ago that the Obama White House announced it had activated the first phase of its anti-ballistic missile defense system (BMD), known as AEGIS, in an air base in Deveselu, Romania. Poland will be next to become activated with Washington’s Aegis.
The new missile network is based at Romania’s Deveselu military air base. The US is also building another new US missile base in Poland. On the same day Deveselu missile base was opened for “business,” construction began on the US missile base near Redzikowo, Poland. Both will operate under the direct command of the US Department of Defense. The Pentagon insists both are intended to protect Europe from Iran (sic!). Shall we call that a pretty pathetic propaganda deception of Washington? I would say so. Both and other systems are directly intended for Russia and those “unarmed” Aegis missiles are potentially nuclear-capable and carry Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles
Commenting on the event, the New York Times openly acknowledged, “The launch-pad violates a 1987 treaty intended to take the superpowers off their hair-trigger nuclear alter, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, by banning land-based cruise and medium-range missiles with a range from 300 to 3,400 miles.”
The reality, that Russia is the target of the Romanian Aegis system was made plain by the remarks at the opening ceremony by Romanian President Klaus Ioannis. Ioannis made clear that the new installation is part of broader plans to use his country as a staging area for NATO activities throughout Eastern Europe and the Black Sea.
Russia made clear it does not greet the news of Aegis deployment with grace or joy. Russia’s President Putin told news agencies, “This is not a defense system. This is part of a US nuclear strategic potential brought on to a periphery. In this case, Eastern Europe is such a periphery…Those people taking such decisions must know that until now they have lived calm, fairly well-off and in safety. Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize the emerging threats to the Russian Federation.”
A well-respected Cold War military veteran originally from the Soviet Union, later in French intelligence, writing under the nom de plume, The Saker, recently outlined in detail what the United States and NATO can expect from Russia if Washington foolishly continues to escalate US troop deployments on Russia’s doorstep in the Baltics, activates more of its BMD missile defenses–which, by the way, as Vladimir Putin pointed out, are also capable of being easily converted to carry nuclear warheads.
It is the escalation that they see that alarms Moscow. That, especially since Washington’s February, 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine, and the lock-step obedience as literal vassals, of every EU head of government to Washington orders since, even at their own economic expense.
As a consequence, Russia has begun to prepare for the “unthinkable.”
Saker describes the Russian current response strategy which has been quietly in preparation since the Cheney-Bush Administration announced plans in 2007 for a US BMD in Poland and the Czech Republic:
“The Russian effort is a vast and a complex one, and it covers almost every aspect of Russian force planning, but there are four examples which, I think, best illustrate the Russian determination not to allow a 22 June 1941 to happen again:
• The re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army (in progress)
• The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system (done)
• The deployment of the Sarmat ICBM (in progress)
• The deployment of the Status-6 strategic torpedo (in progress)”
Thus, if tomorrow a war were to break out between the US and Russia, it is guaranteed that the US would be obliterated. At a minimum, there would no longer be an electric grid, no internet, no oil and gas pipelines, no interstate highway system, no air transportation or GPS-based navigation. Financial centers would lie in ruins. Government at every level would cease to function. US armed forces, stationed all around the globe, would no longer be resupplied. At a maximum, the entire landmass of the US would be covered by a layer of radioactive ash. We tell you this not to be alarmist, but because, based on everything we know, we are ourselves alarmed. If attacked, Russia will not back down; she will retaliate, and she will utterly annihilate the United States.
First, its anti-Russian policies have convinced the Russian leadership that making concessions or negotiating with the West is futile. It has become apparent that the West will always support any individual, movement or government that is anti-Russian, be it tax-cheating Russian oligarchs, convicted Ukrainian war criminals, Saudi-supported Wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya or cathedral-desecrating punks in Moscow. Now that NATO, in violation of its previous promises, has expanded right up to the Russian border, with US forces deployed in the Baltic states, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, the Russians have nowhere left to retreat. They will not attack; nor will they back down or surrender. The Russian leadership enjoys over 80% of popular support; the remaining 20% seems to feel that it is being too soft in opposing Western encroachment. But Russia will retaliate, and a provocation or a simple mistake could trigger a sequence of events that will end with millions of Americans dead and the US in ruins.