Israeli leadership urged their Ukrainian counterparts to accept the peace offer made to them by Vladimir Putin.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the phone and urged the Ukrainian president to accept an offer extended by Russia to end the military conflict, the Jerusalem Post reported.
An official with the Ukrainian government said that Zelenskyy did not accept Bennett’s advice.
Bennett reportedly said, “If I were you, I would think about the lives of my people and take the offer.”
To which Zelenskyy responded with, “I hear you.”
The same Ukrainian official told the Jerusalem Post that “Bennett told us to surrender. We have no intention of doing so. We know Putin’s offer is only the beginning.”
Russian leadership said that it would end its invasion if Ukraine ceased military actions, changed its constitution to ensure geopolitical neutrality, recognized Crimea as Russian territory, and recognized the Russian-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s office has claimed that Israel’s mediation efforts force both Ukrainian and Russian leadership to seek a more cautious and balanced approach to the conflict. In this spirit, Israeli leadership asked the Russian government to cease its requests for military and defense aid from other nations.
According to the Ukrainian official, however, Zelenskyy is growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of results from Bennett’s mediation. The official said that Zelenskyy feels as though Bennett is functioning more as a middle-man who passes along messages from parties in Russia and Ukraine without doing much to help the two nations find an agreeable compromise.
“We don’t need a mailbox,” the official said, “We have enough of those. If Bennett wants to be neutral and mediate, we would expect to see him appoint someone to work on it day and night and try to get a compromise.”
The Ukrainian ambassador to Israel — Yvgeni Kornichuk — is expected to meet with Knesset Chairman Mickey Levi to discuss the details of Zelenskyy’s planned address to Knesset members.
Previously, Kornichuk said that Israel’s mediation efforts were a valuable resource for the Ukrainian government.
He said, “Thank you for the peace effort. This is priceless for us. This is much more important than sales of weapons and of munitions, which we are still fighting for, but we understand [your reasons for not sending them].”
In a Saturday briefing, Zelenskyy reaffirmed his belief that Israeli leadership serves an important role as a mediator.
He said, “I believe [Bennett} can play an important role, because Israel is a country with a lot of history and parallels [to our situation], as well as having a large migration of Jews from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.”