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Putin to Netanyahu: “It’s important to us who gets elected to the Knesset”

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday evening at Putin’s residence in Sochi.

At the beginning of the meeting, Putin addressed Netanyahu: “Thank you for coming here. The purpose of this meeting is to maintain a consistent and good relationship. Last year we saw the trade and economy growing. Thanks to your actions, there’s development in security relations and you obviously know that there is still a risk of international terrorism.”

“I have just returned from a republic in northern Russia which suffered a mass attack from terrorist groups from all over the world 20 years ago,” Putin said. “We in Russia know the term terrorism and in Israel as well of course.”

“I know that you had a very successful conversation with the Defense Minister. We’ll discuss this later.”

“President Rivlin invited me to Israel to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Tell him that I would be very happy to visit Israel. And if it’s possible maybe the memorial to the Russian citizens who fell in the Siege of Leningrad can be inaugurated.”

“I know that Israel is facing a historic challenge. You’re about to have elections – I remember that they’re on September 17. It’s known that there are one and a half million residents from Russia living in Israel. We have always related to them like our people. It is very important to us who will be elected to the Knesset and I hope that whoever enters the Knesset will preserve the friendship between our countries and further strengthen our relationship.”

Netanyahu thanked Putin and said, “I’m happy to meet you again. Our relationship has never been stronger. On the one hand, there are more than one million Russian speakers in Israel. They are a living bridge between our countries. Tightening our relationship is also the result of our rational mutual policy and our personal connection. This connection prevented unnecessary and dangerous friction between our armies. And I unhesitatingly say that it is a fundamental component of the stability of the region.”

“I appreciate your statement that Israel’s security is important to you. And this is reflected in our meetings. Security coordination is always important. But it is especially important at this time because there has been a very severe increase in the number and scope of Iran’s attempts to harm Israel from Syria over the past month and to acquire precision missiles to use against us. This is an insurmountable threat to us and we must make sure there is no friction between us.”

“This is the 13th meeting between us in recent years,” Netanyahu mentioned, “We have advanced many issues in security, economy, tourism, technology and more. But there is also a historical basis for our relationship. I hope very much you come to Israel in January to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and for the inauguration of the memorial to the heroes of the Seige of Leningrad. We’ll never forget the tremendous contribution of the Russian army to the defeat of Nazi Germany.”