Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for the first time in Moscow this week amid growing tensions between Russia and Israel over Syria, where Moscow is helping the regime thwart Israeli attacks to Tel Aviv’s discontent.
Lapid is set to depart Israel on Wednesday evening and return the following day.
The foreign minister is visiting the Russian capital a few days after the Russian military in Syria said the air defense system it supplied to Syria shot down 21 of 24 missiles launched by Israel.
The Russian military’s statement has alarmed Israel, especially since Moscow had previously promised Tel Aviv that its assistance to the Syrian regime will be limited and that the advanced S-300 air defense batteries sale to President Bashar Assad’s forces will not be used against Israeli jets.
Considered as a direct and frank challenge from Russia to Israel, the Russian military’s statement was unprecedented, especially since one of the downed missiles had its fragments fall over Tel Aviv neighborhoods, striking fear and panic among residents.
A few weeks ago, new director of the National Security Council, Eyal Hulata, and his predecessor, Meir Ben Shabbat visited Moscow to meet with Nikolay Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council.
The two sides discussed the ongoing conflict of interests in Syria and other regional issues.
Even though the rising tensions in Syria were discussed, the two sides failed in finding a solution to the problem.
Many observers have predicted that the change in Russian rhetoric towards Israeli strikes in Syria stems from discontent towards Israel obstructing Moscow’s efforts to evacuate the Syrian opposition from the southern governorate of Daraa and looking to escalate tensions on Syrian territory.