Adviser for Ukrainian president says ‘Bennett has at no point told Zelensky how to act’; senior Israeli official calls report ‘patently false’ as PM continues mediation efforts

A top Ukrainian adviser and an Israeli official on Saturday pushed back against a media report suggesting Israel tried to nudge Ukraine into caving to Russian demands during talks.

Israel has been engaged in diplomatic efforts to try to end the war in Ukraine. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

פוטין, בנט וזלנסקי
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: Reuters, Yoav Dudkevitch, AP)


A report carried by Israel’s Walla news, the Jerusalem Post and U.S. news site Axios had suggested, citing an unidentified Ukrainian official, that Bennett had urged Ukraine to give in to Russia.

Israel, “just as other conditional intermediary countries, does NOT offer Ukraine to agree to any demands of the Russian Federation,” Ukrainian adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. “This is impossible for military & political reasons. On the contrary, Israel urges Russia to assess the events more adequately.”

A senior Israeli official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, called the report “patently false”.

“At no point did Prime Minister Bennett advise President Zelensky to take a deal from Putin – because no such deal was offered to Israel for us to be able to do so,” the official said.

וסילקיב דרומית מערבית לקייב עשן עולה בעקבות הפגזות רוסיות משבר מלחמה רוסיה אוקראינה
The aftermath of Russian shelling south of Kyiv (Photo: AP)


“Bennett has at no point told Zelensky how to act, nor does he have any intention to.”

Bennett met with Putin in the Kremlin last Saturday to discuss the war in Ukraine and later spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to a spokesperson for the Israeli leader.

Israel, at the behest of Zelensky, has offered to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, though officials have previously played down expectations of any breakthrough.

As reported by Ynetnews