Naftali Bennett secretly travels to Moscow to meet with Putin, has 3 conversations with Zelensky, as Israel acts as mediator in Russia-Ukraine crisis

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on a plane to Russia.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on a plane to Russia.Insider
  • The Israeli Prime Minister traveled to Moscow in secret to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Israel is acting as a mediator in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

  • Naftali Bennett has spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky three times in 24 hours.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues unabated, Israel is now acting as a mediator in the conflict.

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett kicked off the mediation efforts by meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and holding a series of calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this weekend.

Bennett also traveled to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"I returned from Moscow and Berlin a few hours ago," Bennett said in a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, per his foreign media adviser. "I went there to assist the dialogue between all of the sides, of course with the blessing and encouragement of all players."

Israel's offer to mediate the conflict came at the behest of Zelensky, per Reuters.

Bennett's secret trip to Moscow on Saturday to meet with Putin "took place after a long series of talks between the Prime Minister and leaders over the past week," an Israeli official told Insider.

A meeting about the ongoing conflict lasted for about three hours, the official said. They added that it also touched upon the situation for Israelis and Jewish communities in Ukraine and the progress of nuclear talks in Vienna.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett boards a helicopter on March 6, 2022.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett boards a helicopter on March 6, 2022.Insider

On Sunday, Israel's Government Press Office said Bennett spoke with Zelensky.

It was the third time the two leaders had spoken within 24 hours. The two previous calls took place on Saturday evening, after the meeting with Putin, the press office said.

Bennett also had a conversation with President of France Emmanuel Macron.

Israeli is a major ally of the United States, but the Middle Eastern nation has close military ties with Russia, unlike many other Western countries. Jerusalem and Moscow coordinate militarily in Syria.

Western nations have imposed a series of economic sanctions on Russia and blocked the country from international banking systems, among other measures. Israel is yet to do the same, but The Times of Israel reports that pressure is growing on Israeli lawmakers to do so.

Read the original article on Business Insider