Ukraine and Israel refute claims that PM Bennett urged Zelensky to surrender

12 March 2022, 12:49 PM

Both the Ukrainian and Israeli governments have refuted a story published by the Israeli online newspaper The Jerusalem Post, which alleged that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet reportedly advised Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to effectively surrender to Russia. 

The story, published on March 11, cited an unnamed source in the Zelensky administration, who said that the Ukrainian president "did not react favorably" to the suggestion.

Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak, however, denied the report in a tweet on March 12, saying that for “military and political reasons,” Israel could not advise Ukraine to accept the Russian terms of surrender.

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Online news outlet Axios added that a senior Israeli official in the Prime Minister’s Office had also rejected the Jerusalem Post’s account, instead insisting that the call between the two leaders was “good and long” and discussed “the possibility of holding a mediation meeting in Jerusalem.”

Israel has been accused of not fully supporting Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, urging Israel at a March 11 briefing to “step up support” for Ukraine, according to international news agency Reuters.

Israel has not sanctioned Russia, unlike the majority of its allies, and has been restrained in its criticism of the ongoing invasion.

On March 5, Israeli PM Bennett met with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Moscow, following up the visit with a phone call with Zelensky in an attempt to mediate in the conflict.

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