Putin to Visit Israel in June

Haaretz Via Forward Reports:  Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin wants to visit Israel in June, and has  expressed interest in unveiling a monument in Netanyahu honoring Jewish Red Army  soldiers who fought in World War II, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz on Monday.

There have been no talks about specific arrangements because Putin has yet to  be inaugurated, the source said. After he is sworn in on May 7, Israel is  expected to begin preparing for his visit, the date of which will be formally  announced, the official said. Israel is expected to be Putin’s second foreign destination after he is  inaugurated on May 7. Putin is due to travel to the United States on May 20 to  attend the G8 summit, where he is slated to meet with U.S. President Barack  Obama.

Since Putin was elected president earlier this month, senior Russian  officials have made several requests to the Foreign Ministry regarding Putin’s  interest in visiting Israel.

The Russian ambassador to Israel, Sergei Yakovlev, and Russia’s deputy  foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, are among those who have made such requests.  Other requests were brought directly to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Putin earlier this month to  congratulate him on winning the presidential election. Netanayhu’s aides issued  a statement saying the two discussed the Middle East situation and the Iranian  nuclear program.

Netanyahu invited Putin to visit Israel and received an invitation from him  to visit Moscow.

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