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Israel's Netanyahu to meet Putin in Moscow this month

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this month. Netanyahu announced the trip Tuesday during a press conference with visiting Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen. It will be his third meeting with Putin since July.

Netanyahu says the Feb. 21 visit will deal with Israel's efforts to prevent Iranian entrenchment in neighboring Syria. The prime minister met with a delegation of senior Russian officials in Jerusalem last week to discuss "strengthening the security coordination mechanism between the militaries" to prevent possible friction in Syria.

Israel and Russia maintain a hotline to prevent their air forces from clashing over Syria. Israel has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, primarily against Iranian targets and suspected arms shipments to Hezbollah militants.

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