Putin to Bennett: Safeguarding Russia's security interests 'key to ending' Ukraine crisis

Leaders speak for the second time since the outset of hostilities in Eastern Europe last week after premier spoke with Ukraine's Zelensky; Kremlin says Israeli side initiated call

Itamar Eichner|
The key to ending the crisis in Ukraine is safeguarding Russia's security interests, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday evening according to the Kremlin.
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  • This is the second time Bennett spoke by phone with the Russian leader since his country launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine — the largest attack on a European nation since World War II. The Kremlin said that the Israeli premier initiated the call on both occasions.
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    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט עם נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין
    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט עם נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin
    (Photo: EPA)
    Shortly before their call, Israel joined 140 other countries in voting in favor of condemning the Russian offensive at the UN General Assembly.
    Immediately after the vote, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan and his deputy Noa Furman were seen applauding the decision with other national representatives.
    Israeli officials estimate the Russians will refrain from taking dramatic action in light of the Israeli vote since Israel "blends in" with the consensus.
    Earlier Wednesday, Bennett spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the phone.
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    דיון חירום בעצרת הכללית של האו"ם
    דיון חירום בעצרת הכללית של האו"ם
    United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to reprimand Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in a rare emergency session and demanded that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces, March 2, 2022
    (Photo: Gettyimages)
    The two leaders discussed Israel continuing to supply humanitarian aid and a Russian assault that reportedly damaged the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in the capital Kyiv, which Zelensky, who is himself Jewish, described as a "barbaric action."
    Zelensky also said that the Russians bombed the city of Uman, which is a popular pilgrimage site for Jews as it is home to the gravesite of a prominent scholar and a considerable Jewish community.
    The Ukrainian President also asked for military aid. It was unclear whether the two discussed the possibility Bennett would mediate ceasefire talks between Kyiv and Moscow.
    Ukraine's Ambassador in Israel Yevgeny Kornichuk told CNN on Saturday that Zelensky asked Bennett to mediate peace negotiations between the two warring nations as Israel enjoys close ties with both.
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    וולודימיר זלנסקי
    וולודימיר זלנסקי
    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The leaders agreed to keep in touch as the events in the Eastern European country unfold, according to Bennett's office.
    On their previous call last Friday, Bennett and Zelensky discussed the situation in Ukraine, with emphasis on Kyiv.
    Bennett offered Israel send humanitarian aid and updated Zelensky on what had already been done in the matter.
    "The prime minister emphasized his hope for a fast end to the fighting, and sent his prayers to the Ukrainian nation in these tough days", Bennett's office said in a statement.
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