Putin welcomes return to power of Israel's Netanyahu: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday welcomed the return of Benjamin Netanyahu as head of the Israeli government, noting an intention to strengthen cooperation, the Kremlin said.
Israel's hawkish veteran Netanyahu was sworn in as prime minister Thursday after a stint in opposition, heading what analysts call the most right-wing government in the country's history.
"I hope that the new government under your leadership will continue the line of strengthening Russian-Israeli cooperation in all areas for the benefit of our peoples, in the interest of ensuring peace and security in the Middle East," Putin said in a message to Netanyahu, quoted in the statement.
"In Russia, we greatly appreciate your personal and long-standing contribution to strengthening friendly relations between our countries," Putin said.
After the beginning of the Russian offensive in Ukraine in February, Israel adopted a cautious position towards Moscow, seeking to maintain neutrality.
Israel has particularly emphasised the special ties between the two nations, as Israel has more than a million citizens from the former Soviet Union.