Israel-Russian relations strong – if US doesn’t intervene

PM Netanyahu with Russian President Putin

US pressure could undermine Russia-Israel relations, Duma Committee on International Affairs vice chairman Alexander Romanovich implied in a briefing to Israeli reporters and academics Monday.

“Nothing can harm the good relations between our two countries, as long as another power doesn’t intervene. I won’t name it,” Romanovich said.

The lawmaker’s comments came several weeks after Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman made it clear that Israel plans to refrain from taking a position on the Ukrainian crisis. The policy comes from a concern that it would anger Moscow and have a ripple effect on Israeli security concerns in the region, like Syria and Iran.

Washington, however, does not back the position, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying last month that the US was surprised when Israel skipped a vote on the matter in the UN General Assembly.

Romanovich, a member of the opposition, said he cannot understand Western suspicions that Russia will try to invade Ukraine, saying commentators “are ignoring what Putin said clearly.”

“Nobody wants to cross the border into Ukraine. Our troops are in Crimea, not Ukraine,” he stated.

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