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Russia Ukraine conflict

Israeli PM Bennett meets Putin in Moscow to discuss Ukraine crisis

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Saturday to discuss the Ukraine crisis, his spokesperson said.

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

Following a three-hour meeting on the Ukraine conflict with Putin, Bennett headed to Berlin for talks with the German chancellor, his spokesperson said.

“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is currently on his way from Moscow to Berlin, where he will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz,” Bennett’s spokesperson said in a statement, according to AFP.

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While Israel, a close ally of the United States, has condemned the Russian invasion, voiced solidarity with Kyiv and sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine, it has said it will maintain communications with Moscow in the hope of helping to ease the crisis.

Israel is also mindful of Moscow’s military support for President Bashar al-Assad in next-door Syria, where Israel regularly attacks Iranian and Hezbollah military targets. Contacts with Moscow prevent Russian and Israeli forces trading fire by accident.

Bennett, a religious Jew, took a flight in violation of Sabbath law because Judaism permits this when the aim is to preserve human life, his spokesperson said.

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