Russia's Lavrov meets Syria regime FM Mekdad in Moscow, condemns Israel strikes

Russia's Lavrov meets Syria regime FM Mekdad in Moscow, condemns Israel strikes
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow 'strongly condemned the dangerous practice of Israeli strikes' in Syria at a press conference alongside his Syrian regime counterpart, Faisal Mekdad.
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The Syrian regime's Faisal Mekdad gave Russia's Sergei Lavrov his backing for Moscow's actions in Ukraine [NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/POOL/AFP/Getty]

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday condemned Israeli missile attacks against Syria, in comments that underline a chill in once-warm Russia-Israel relations.

Lavrov was speaking at a joint news conference alongside his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, in Moscow. Russia is a key backer of President Bashar Al-Assad and his regime.

"We strongly condemned the dangerous practice of Israeli strikes on Syrian territory," Lavrov said.

"We demand that Israel respect the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and, above all, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria."

Israel hit Iranian targets in a series of strikes on 14 August near Assad's ancestral home region and also close to Russia's main Syrian bases on the Mediterranean coast, regional intelligence and Syrian military sources said.

In comments aimed at persuading Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to row back talk of a new campaign in northern Syria, Lavrov also said that an escalation of military action in the country would be "unacceptable".

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Russia and the Syrian regime were looking to negotiate with Turkey to "prevent any new military action", according to Lavrov.

Speaking at the same news conference, Mekdad gave Lavrov his backing for Russia's actions in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation" to disarm and "denazify" its smaller southern neighbour.

Kyiv denies these allegations. Russia is widely considered to be carrying out an unjustified invasion in Ukraine.

Israel has spoken out against Moscow sending troops into Ukraine and bilateral tensions have grown in recent months.

In May, Lavrov said Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots – a statement which triggered outrage in Israel and forced a rare apology from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian authorities have also opened legal investigations into the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency, Sochnut, which promotes immigration to Israel.