Russia’s President Vladimir Putin called Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday morning to congratulate him on his victory in the elections and on forming a new government.
“In the warm and personal conversation between them, Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu thanked [Putin] for his blessings and repeated his words during the election campaign, that after taking office he would seriously examine the Ukraine issue,” his office said.
The two leaders discussed several issues, “chief among them the war in Ukraine,” with Netanyahu telling Putin that “he hopes a way will be found as soon as possible to end the war and the suffering caused by it.”
He also told Putin that he is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and to curb its attempts to establish a military base on Israel’s northern border.
Russia recently tightened its ties with Iran. UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in a holiday update that Russia plans to deepen its military cooperation with Iran in return for its Shahed-135 kamikaze drones, used by Russia to bomb Ukrainian cities and national infrastructure.
“In return for having supplied more than 300 kamikaze drones, Russia now intends to provide Iran with advanced military components, undermining both Middle East and international security,” Wallace told the British Parliament.
“We must hold their enablers to account. Iran has become one of Russia’s top military backers. In return for having supplied more than 300 kamikaze drones, Russia intends to provide it with advanced military components, undermining both Middle East and international security. We must expose this deal.”
According to White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, Russia has offered Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership.”
It is important to remember that both Russia and Iran maintain a military footprint in Syria, across Israel’s northern border. Iran also generously supplies its proxy in Lebanon, the Hezbollah terrorist organization, with a large budget, weapons and training.
US intelligence officials said last month that Iran is also asking Russia for additional nuclear materials and assistance with nuclear fuel fabrication that could help power Iranian nuclear reactors, and potentially further shorten its “breakout time” to an atomic weapon, CNN reported.
In addition, Russia and Iran are spending billions of dollars to build a new transcontinental trade route together, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The new 3,000-kilometer (1,860 mile) trade route is to stretch from the eastern edge of Europe to the Indian Ocean.
Dozens of Russian and Iranian vessels – including those that are subject to sanctions – are already plying the route, the news outlet reported, quoting ship-tracking data.