Monday, February 6, 2023

Former Israeli Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised not to assassinate Zelenskyy

Former Israeli PM: Vladimir Putin promised not to kill Zelenskyy


In Tel Aviv: At the beginning of Russia's war with Ukraine, a former Israeli prime minister said he received a promise from the Russian president not to kill his Ukrainian counterpart.

In the early days of the war, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made an unlikely appearance as a mediator. He became one of the few Western leaders to meet President Vladimir Putin during the war in a last-minute trip to Moscow in March.

Even though Bennett's mediation efforts do not appear to have stopped the bloodshed that continues to this day, his comments in an interview that was posted online late on Saturday shed light on the secretive diplomacy and urgent efforts that were being made to try to end the conflict quickly in its early stages.

Bennett claims that during the five-hour conversation, which also covered a wide range of other topics, he inquired about Putin's intentions regarding the assassination of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"I asked, 'What's going on?'" Do you intend to murder Zelenskyy?' "I won't kill Zelenskyy," he declared. After that, I told him, "I have to understand that you are giving me your word that you will not kill Zelenskyy." "I'm not going to kill Zelenskyy," he declared.

Bennett said that after that, he called Zelenskyy to tell him about Putin's promise.

"'Listen, I just got out of a meeting, he won't kill you,'" Are you sure? He inquires. I said, "He will never kill you."

Bennett claimed that Zelenskyy pledged not to join NATO and Putin gave up his promise to seek Ukraine's disarmament during his mediation.

The Kremlin, which has previously denied Ukrainian claims that Russia intended to assassinate Zelenskyy, did not immediately respond.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Sunday on Twitter that Putin was not to be trusted in response to Bennett's remarks in the widely reported interview.

Don't fall for it: He is a skilled liar. Kuleba said of the Russian leader, "Every time he has promised not to do something, it has been exactly part of his plan."

Bennett, a leader with little experience who had only been prime minister for a little over six months when the war started, unexpectedly got involved in international diplomacy after putting Israel in a bad spot between Russia and Ukraine. In the face of Iran's threats, Israel sees its good relations with the Kremlin as strategic, but it also aligns itself with Western nations and tries to show support for Ukraine.

He flew to Moscow for his meeting with Putin on the Jewish Sabbath, breaking his religious obligations and putting himself at the forefront of global efforts to end the war. He is a observant Jew who is not widely known.

However, his efforts to make peace did not appear to be successful, and his time in power was brief. Infighting led to the demise of Bennett's government, an ideologically diverse coalition that sent current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a brief political exile. Bennett has left politics and is a private citizen now.

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