The president of the Board of Deputies will meet Vladimir Putin next week as part of a delegation of European Jewish leaders.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

Jonathan Arkush will join key communal figures from across the continent in Moscow. The group will be led by Russian businessman and philanthropist Moshe Kantor, head of the European Jewish Congress.

Relations between Russia and the international community had been strained over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, with several rounds of sanctions imposed by the US and Europe, and most recently by its approach to the Syrian conflict and the future of Assad.

Arkush said: “I understand that President Putin has asked to meet a delegation ofEuropean Jewish community leaders.”

Jonathan Arkush

Jonathan Arkush

Putin,  an ally of Bashar Assad, joined military strikes in Syria last year – and strenuously denied his military was targeted civilian and US-backed rebel targets as well as IS.

While he believes Assad has made “many mistakes”, he said it is primarily the fault of insurgents and foreign supporters rather than of Assad when civilians are harmed in the raging conflict.

Putin believes the Syrian people must decide who rules the country in future, but has refused to rule out providing asylum if he should be defeated in elections.

Last month, Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu publicly resolved to coordinate efforts to tackle terror, which reportedly includes measures to prevent air incidents between the two countries over Syria.