Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to mediate talks in Jerusalem in an attempt to resolve the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, The New York Times reported Friday.
The request was made during a phone call between the two leaders, The Times added, quoting the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk. An Israeli official who requested anonymity confirmed that the request was made, The Times said.
“We do believe that Israel is the only democratic state in the world that has great relations with both Ukraine and Russia,” the paper quoted Korniychuk as saying, adding that Bennett’s office confirmed that a phone call took place but declined to comment further.
“They didn’t say no,” Korniychuk said.
Israel is keen to stay on good terms with Russia, which has a strong military presence in Syria, where Israel has bombed sites in a bid to slow Tehran's military expansion and prevent advanced weapons from reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon.
"The Russian attack on Ukraine is a serious violation of the international order. Israel condemns the attack,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Thursday.
Furthermore, Bennett offered humanitarian aid to Ukraine in a phone call with Zelenskyy on Friday.
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The two leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine, and particularly the fighting around the capital Kyiv. According to the Israeli statement, Bennett "reiterated his hope for a swift end to the fighting" and said that he "stands by the Ukrainian people in these difficult times."