July 11 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Russia Wednesday to meet with Kremlin President Vladimir Putin, for visit he called a "very important."
Netanyahu said he planned to discuss Syria, Iran and Israeli security needs with the Russian leader.
Talks during Netanyahu's 24-hour visit are also expected to cover President Donald Trump's summit with Putin Monday in Helsinki, Finland.
Netanyahu said he "very much appreciates the excellent direct contact I have with President Putin.
"It is very important to Israel's national security," he added.
Talks also are expected to concentrate on Israel's fight against Iranian presence in Syria.
After the meeting, Netanyahu and wife Sara will join Putin for a World Cup semifinal in Moscow, where the prime minister will accompany two young cancer patients he invited to the game.
This is Netanyahu's third meeting with Putin this year and the ninth since 2015 when Russia began supporting the Syrian government militarily against rebels.