Putin promised not to kill Zelenskyy, former Israeli prime minister says. A former Israeli prime minister who served. As a mediator at the start of Russia’s war with Ukraine says. He took a pledge from the Russian president not to kill his Ukrainian counterpart.
Naftali Bennett emerged as an unlikely mediator in the early weeks of the war.
Becoming one of the few Western leaders to meet with President Vladimir Putin during. The war on a snap trip to Moscow last March.
While Bennett’s mediation efforts appear to have done little to end. The ongoing bloodshed to date, his comments, in an interview posted online late Saturday. Shed light on backroom diplomacy and urgent efforts to de-escalate the conflict. Conclusion in its early days.
In the five-hour interview, which touched on many other topics. Bennett said he asked Putin if he wanted to kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I asked, ‘What is it? Are you planning to kill Zelensky?’ He said ‘I will not kill Zelensky.’ Then I said to him ‘I must understand that you gave me your word that you would not kill Zelensky.’ He said ‘I am not going to kill Zelensky.
Bennett said he then called Zelensky to inform him of Putin’s promise.
“‘Listen, I came out of a meeting, he’s not going to beat you.’ He asked, ‘Are you sure?’ I said ‘100% he won’t beat you.’
Bennett said that during his mediation. Putin reneged on his vow to disarm Ukraine and Zelensky promised not to join NATO.
There was no immediate response from the Kremlin. Which has before denied Ukrainian claims that Russia sought to kill Zelensky.
Bennett, an unpredictable leader who had been prime minister for over six months. When the war broke out, thrust himself into international diplomacy. After placing Israel in an uneasy middle ground between Russia and Ukraine. Israel sees its good relationship with the Kremlin as strategic in the face of threats from Iran. But it also aligns itself with Western countries and tries to show support for Ukraine.
An observant Jew and little known. He flew to Moscow for his meeting with Putin during the Jewish Sabbath. Breaking his religious vows and putting himself at the forefront of global efforts to stop the war.
But his peacemaking efforts never stopped and his time in power was short-lived. Bennett’s government, an diverse union. That sent incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a brief political exile. Collapsed in the summer amid infighting. Bennett withdrew from politics and is now a private citizen.