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Putin, under fire backing Assad, to visit Israel

JTA

June 13, 2012 | 1:27 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during an awards ceremony for achievments in culture and science in Moscow's Kremlin on June 12. Photo by REUTERS/Misha Japaridze/Pool

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during an awards ceremony for achievments in culture and science in Moscow's Kremlin on June 12. Photo by REUTERS/Misha Japaridze/Pool

Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to visit Israel, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced.

It will be Putin’s first visit to Israel since 2005. No date has been set for the visit, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing the ministry.

The Times of Israel reported Wednesday that the visit is set for June 25, and that Putin is slated to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other senior officials.

He also reportedly will meet in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and in Jordan with King Abdullah.

Putin has been roundly condemned by the international community for his continued support of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is under fire for his deadly crackdown on dissenters against his government. The United States on Tuesday charged Russia with delivering attack helicopters to Syria.

Putin met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Moscow in December.

The talks later this month will likely focus on Iran’s suspected nuclear program, as well as the Syrian unrest.

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