Israel's ambassador to Russia, Alexander Ben Zvi, said Wednesday that Israel "would be honored" to host a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Speaking to Russian news agency TASS, Ben Zvi added that "we would be delighted to host such a meeting in Jerusalem" as part of peace negotiations. The Kremlin responded by saying that there would need to be a "tangible reason" for such a meeting to take place.
Over the last several weeks, Zelenskyy has floated the idea of a Russian-Ukrainian summit in Jerusalem. Israeli President Naftali Bennett proposed the idea to Putin more than once, but did not receive an answer.
When asked about Bennett's mediation efforts, Ambassador Ben Zvi said the two leaders are in "constant contact" but stressed he did not know when they are scheduled to speak again.
Bennett's previous attempts to mediate between the two countries have faced criticism in Ukraine. Last month, a senior Ukrainian official slammed Israel's prime minister's mediation effort as an excuse to avoid transferring military aid to Ukraine.
As the war reached its two-month mark, Russia gave Ukrainian fighters holding out in Mariupol a new ultimatum to surrender by Wednesday afternoon as it pushed for a decisive victory in its offensive in the east, while Western governments promised to give Ukraine more military help.
Thousands of Russian troops backed by artillery and rocket barrages were attempting to advance in what Ukrainian officials have called the Battle of the Donbas – a final push by Moscow to seize two eastern provinces it claims on behalf of separatists.