Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met for about three hours on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, according to an Israeli official.
The unannounced meeting took place with the support of the US government, the Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement.
The Israeli official said Bennett’s diplomatic effort was also coordinated with Germany and France, and added that the Israeli leader “is in ongoing dialogue with Ukraine.”
Bennett also spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday after his meeting with Putin.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel told CNN that Ukraine was informed in advance of Bennett’s meeting with Putin and supported it.
After the meeting in Moscow concluded, Bennett made his way to Berlin for a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, according to the Israeli official.
Three days ago, Israel’s prime minister had already spoken to Putin and Zelensky by phone, in separate conversations. Zelensky appealed to Israel to mediate efforts to achieve a ceasefire.
While Israel has condemned the invasion of Russia through statements by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Bennett has avoided direct criticism of Russia or Putin.
Israel has sought to maintain good relations with Russia in recent years so it can continue air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria – which Israel considers critical to preventing the transfer of precision-guided missile technology to Hezbollah.
Source: CNN Brasil