Putin, Bennett Speak Less Than a Day After Meeting in Moscow; Lapid to Meet Blinken in Latvia

Israel's Bennett speaks by phone with Putin less than 24 hours after the two leaders met at the Kremlin to discuss Ukraine war as well as in Vienna nuclear talks

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Israeli Prime Minister Natafli Bennett (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left).
Israeli Prime Minister Natafli Bennett (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left). Credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV JACK GUEZ - A

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett less than 24 hours after their meeting in Moscow, a statement from the premier office said on Sunday, amid meditation push.

According to the statement, the Israeli premier also spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron following the phone call with Putin.

Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is also expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday in Latvia, a statement by Lapid's office said.

Earlier on Sunday, Bennett said that Israel will continue to assist on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, “even if the chances [of succeeding] are not great.”

According to a statement by his office, the prime minister believes attempts to reach a solution as a “moral duty.”

Bennett initially flew to Moscow Saturday night for a meeting with Putin at the Kremlin to discuss developments in Ukraine as well as in Vienna, where a revived Iran nuclear deal is shaping up in its final stages.

The Kremlin confirmed Bennett's snap visit “to discuss the situation surrounding Ukraine,” spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, in comments carried by the Interfax news agency.

According to the Israeli statement, the two leaders met for three hours. Officials said they also discussed the situation of Israelis and Jews affected by the fighting.

The Biden administration was informed of the last two discussions in advance and supported them, Israeli officials said, adding that Bennett spoke to U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan before and after his phone call with Putin. As Israel increasingly positions itself as a mediator between Russia, Ukraine and the West, the move was also coordinated with Germany and France, a senior official said, and amid “constant communication” with Ukraine,

French President Emmanuel Macron had spoken to Bennett before he flew to Moscow to brief him on Macron's previous conversations with Putin, the Élysée said.

Later Saturday, Bennett flew from Moscow to Berlin to meet with the German Chancellor. The two spoke for an hour and a half on several issues, including the war in Ukraine, a spokesman for the prime minister said. Bennett spoke twice throughout the evening with President Zelenskyy, the spokesman added.

Israel, home to a substantial population of Ukrainian and Russian immigrants, has offered to mediate in the conflict between the two countries, though officials have previously played down expectations of a breakthrough.

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