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MOSCOW – Israel's prime minister is visiting Russia for talks expected to focus on regional security and Syria.
Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Russia marks his first since September's downing of a Russian warplane by Syrian forces that were responding to an Israeli air strike. The incident threatened to derail close security ties between Russia and Israel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the start of Wednesday's talks that "it's very important to discuss the situation in the region and security issues." Netanyahu invited the Russian leader to visit Israel.
Moscow has played a delicate diplomatic game of maintaining friendly ties with both Israel and Iran. Last summer, Moscow struck a deal with Tehran to keep its fighters away from the Golan Heights to accommodate Israeli concerns about the Iranian presence in Syria.