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Kremlin on Netanyahu win: Good to have Israeli leaders who share a ‘common approach’

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 30, 2020. (Maxim Shemtov/Pool/AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 30, 2020. (Maxim Shemtov/Pool/AFP)

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, says it’s too early to talk about a bilateral meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu and the Russian leader, but welcomes Netanyahu’s impending return to office.

“It is still too early. The process of forming the coalition will require time and will not be easy,” says Peskov, according to the state-owned TASS news agency.

The spokesman stresses that “we definitely value constructive relations with our Israeli partners.”

“It is certainly important for us to see people at the helm of Israel and the government, who share a common approach toward further developing bilateral relations,” he continues.

During his 12-year stint as prime minister, Netanyahu developed a warm personal relationship with Putin, while much of Europe and the US increasingly saw him as a threat.

In February 2022 – while Netanyahu was in the opposition – Russian forces invaded Ukraine, putting Israeli leaders Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid in an awkward position. They sought to signal to the West and to Ukraine that Jerusalem sympathizes with Kyiv and the Ukrainian people, while also making sure that Israel did not take any actions that threatened security coordination with Russia in Syria or the welfare of Jews in Russia.

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