Putin makes historic visit to Israel

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | 
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Israel today for a historic three-day visit. He is the first Kremlin leader to visit Israel--a sign of improving ties after decades of strain during the Soviet era, when Moscow backed Arab countries at war with the Jewish state. Putin will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as Russia seeks to reassert its influence in the Middle East and play an increasing role in the peace process. But the visit has been overshadowed by Russia's decision to sell anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. Israel sees the sale as a threat; it says the missiles could wind up in the hands of Syrian-backed terrorist groups.

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