Israeli PM: Russia No Longer Seeking to Overthrow Zelensky, Demilitarize Ukraine


March 22, 2022 CBN News Jerusalem Emily Jones

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says Russia is no longer seeking to depose Ukraine’s president and fully demilitarize its smaller neighbor, while Ukraine has given up on joining NATO, The Jerusalem Post reports. 

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Israeli daily Ynet news on Monday, Bennett said, “in recent weeks there were some advances between the sides, but the gaps in a number of fundamental topics are big.”

Russia has characterized its invasion of Ukraine as a “special operation” to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. However, Ukraine says Moscow is looking to overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and replace it with one that is more friendly to Russia. 

Russia has not publicly said that it is backing down from demilitarizing Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a mediator between warring Russia and Ukraine thanks to Jerusalem’s close ties to both nations. 

“We are trying to mediate together with our friends in the world, but there is a long way ahead,” said Bennett. 

“We positioned Israel in a way that allows us continuous communications with both sides that is honest and open and can bring achievements,” he added. 

Bennett accepted an invitation from Zelensky to visit Kyiv on the condition that Ukraine makes progress with Russia in ceasefire talks, Ynet news reported on Monday. 

“In order to advance the negotiations, it is clear that in-person meetings are necessary,” an unnamed source involved in the talks told Ynet. “And they may happen down the road if negotiations reach a tipping point.”

According to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office asked Israel’s Shin Bet security service to draw up safety plans for Bennett’s potential visit to Kyiv. Some security officials have expressed security concerns about a trip to the warzone.

While Israel’s foreign minister harshly condemned Russia’s invasion, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been much more restrained with his criticism in an attempt to maintain neutrality. Bennett made a surprise visit to Moscow on March 5 and has spoken directly to Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone numerous times.

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Zelensky urged Israel to take a tougher stance against Russia and compared Moscow’s treatment of Ukrainians to the Holocaust during an official address to Israel’s parliament on Sunday.

Bennett rejected Zelensky’s Holocaust comparison but empathized with Ukraine’s suffering. 

“He’s a leader battling for the life of his country,” Bennett said at the Ynet news conference. “Many hundreds of dead, millions of refugees. I cannot imagine what it is like to be in his shoes.”

Israel has sent tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and is set to open a field hospital there this week. But it has rejected requests by Kyiv to send military aid, including helmets and flak jackets, or sanction Russia and its oligarchs.

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Steve Martin

STEVE & LAURIE MARTIN - LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE FOUNDERS My good wife Laurie and I (45 years in October 2022!), through the ministry of Love For His People we founded in 2010, give love and support for our friends in Israel and in other nations with friendship, humanitarian aid, and social media support, along with Steve's messages, and our Ahava Adventures trips to Israel. Steve has also authored and published 34 books. We live in the Charlotte, NC area. We have four adult children, spouses, and eight grandkids.

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