JERUSALEM (AP) – An Israeli Cabinet minister is accusing Russia of destabilizing the Middle East by selling weapons to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Monday’s remarks by Tourism Minister Uzi Landau are likely to raise tensions with Russia on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow.
Netanyahu is expected to press President Vladimir Putin to halt the arms sales to Assad’s government.
Russia has sided with Assad in Syria’s civil war, sending him weapons and shielding him against Western attempts to impose international sanctions.
Israel is concerned advanced Russian weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, another Assad ally.
Landau says the Russian arms supplies “promote instability in the Middle East” and that “anyone who provides weaponry to terror organizations is siding with terror.”
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)