Netanyahu insists Russia trip not tied to jailed backpacker

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists he would have made a surprise visit to Russia this week even if an Israeli-American woman jailed there on drug charges wasn’t released, according to the Ynet news site.

Netanyahu tells reporters the trip to Russia was to update Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Trump peace plan.

He also says Issachar’s case cast a pall over Israeli-Russian ties.

“The ties with are strategic, first and foremost. We cultivate the ties with Russia to prevent a military clash in the region and therefore the [Issachar] crisis could darken the entire relationship,” the premier is quoted saying by the Walla news site.

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