Putin: Israel giving Ukraine weapons 'counterproductive'
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Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSenate confirms Trump's Russia ambassador Trump is right to shake up NATO Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE on Saturday warned Israel against helping arm Ukraine in its struggle against eastern separatists Russia supports.
 
“This is a choice, a choice of the Israeli leadership,” Putin said in an interview on Rossiya 1 TV, according to The Jerusalem Post.
 
“They have a right to do what they consider appropriate,” he continued. 
 
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“I think it is counterproductive, if it concerns lethal weapons, because it will only lead to yet another swirl of confrontation, to more human casualties, but the result will be the same,” Putin concluded.
 
Putin’s remarks highlight growing global tensions between Jerusalem and Moscow over the international arms trade. Israel previously criticized Russia’s decision Monday to lift a ban on sales of its S-300 anti-rocket missiles to Iran.
 
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday said the Obama administration had “significant” concerns over Moscow’s maneuver. Israel believes Iran could use the missile system to attack its citizens.
 
Tempers are already heated in the Middle East over April 2’s tentative framework on Iran’s nuclear arms research. President Obama hailed the draft pact as a “historic” moment for diplomacy with Tehran during remarks made the same day.
 
Obama has promised to help lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for tighter restrictions on its atomic energy capabilities.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed this rough accord is not strict enough to prevent a nuclear Iran. An Iran with atomic bombs, he argued, would directly threaten his nation’s existence.
 
Israel’s potential arms sales to Ukraine may serve as payback for Russia’s similar transactions with Iran. Putin began supporting rebels in Ukraine’s Crimea region last year in the hopes that they would install a more pro-Russia government there.