Former Prime Minister of Israel Bennett: Putin assured me that he will not kill Zelensky

The Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett / Photo: EPA-EFE / YONATAN SINDEL

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Russian President Vladimir Putin assured him at the very beginning of the war in Ukraine that he would not order the liquidation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He made two big promises to me," Bennett said in an interview published last night about a meeting with Putin on March 5, 2022, when he traveled to Moscow to try to mediate shortly after the start of the Russian invasion.

I knew that Zelenski was under threat, in the bunker." I said (to Putin), 'Do you intend to kill Zelensky?'

"You must explain to me." Do you give me your word that you won't kill Zelensky," Bennett asked Putin, and the Russian president repeated: "I won't kill Zelensky."

Bennett called the president of Ukraine immediately after the three-hour meeting with Putin and told him: "I just got out of the meeting - Putin is not going to kill you," the former Israeli prime minister said.


Zelensky then asked Bennett "if he was sure," and Bennett replied that he was 100% sure and reiterated that Putin would not kill him.

Two hours later, Zelensky went to his office, took a selfie and wrote: "I'm not afraid of Putin," Bennett claimed.

Video message that Zelenski

Israeli media say that, according to unconfirmed reports, several attempts to kill Zelensky have been thwarted since the start of the Russian invasion.

Those plots involved members of the Wagner group, a security company controlled by Putin's closest associate Yevgeny Prigozhin, as well as Chechen special forces.

Bennett pointed out that Putin also agreed not to disarm Ukraine, and that same weekend Zelensky dropped his push for Ukraine to join NATO.

The former prime minister of Israel confirmed that everything he did in the mediation efforts was coordinated with the United States.

Putin's telephone conversation with Bennett / Photo: EPA-EFE

He was the first foreign leader to meet Putin since the invasion began. .

Bennett, the first Orthodox Jew to become Israel's prime minister, traveled to Moscow on the Jewish day of rest, Shabbat, when Jewish believers are not allowed to travel under Jewish law, but there can be exceptions for health or safety reasons when there is a threat to the life.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering a position on the war in Ukraine.

Increasingly, defense and intelligence officials are demanding that Israel help Kyiv militarily, but not create a rift in relations with Moscow.

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