Russia’s President Vladimir Putin revealed on April 4 that the body of missing US-born Israel soldier, Zachary Baumel, was recovered by Russian and Syrian forces.
“It is important that his family can place a wreath on his grave,” Putin said alongside Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived in Moscow earlier, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The Israeli PM thanked Putin and revealed that he asked for Russia’s help to find the remains of several missing Israeli soldiers in Syria two years ago.
“I am always pleased to be here, but it is especially meaningful today because you have recognized the supreme value of bringing a soldier home for burial,” Netanyahu said.
Baumel and two other Israeli soldiers, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, went missing during the battle of Sultan Yacoub on June 10 of 1982. In the course of the battle, Baumel’s tank was captured by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), that killed and injured dozens of Israeli service members back then.
A day earlier, the Israeli military announced that the remains of Baumel were recovered from Syria in in a complex and secret operation known as “Operation Bittersweet Song.” A spokesman for the military had said that a third country was involved in the operation. However, he didn’t reveal that the country was Russia.
After holding a brief meeting with Putin, Netanyahu headed to the headquarters of Minister of Defense of Russia where an official ceremony was held in the honor of Baumel. Netanyahu will bring back the remains of the Israeli soldier with him today.
Before leaving, the Israeli PM will hold a second meeting with the Russian President. According to the Jerusalem Post, the two leaders will discuss the situation in Syria, where their forces are coordinating their actions.