Israel’s Bennett Describes West Blocking Russia-Ukraine Peace Negotiations
Feb. 5, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—In early March 2022, then Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attempted to mediate a peace between Russia and Ukraine. His account appeared yesterday in a five-hour conversation with journalist Hanoch Daum, and posted to Bennett’s YouTube channel and headlined “Bennett Speaks Out.” He included English subtitles.
Bennett says that both Moscow and Kiev had made important concessions and were close to a truce agreement. He claimed that Putin had agreed to forgo the demands for “denazification” and disarmament of Ukraine, and Zelenskyy had agreed not to seek NATO membership.
After Moscow, Bennett also went to Germany and met with Scholz. “We updated the Americans and Macron, and Boris Johnson. ... Boris Johnson adopted the aggressive line,” he said, describing the differences among the Western leaders. “Macron and Scholz were more pragmatic and Biden was both.” He repeated later, “I don’t do as I please. Anything I did was coordinated down to the last detail with the U.S. Germany and France.”
“So they blocked it?” asked Daum.
“Basically, yes. And I thought they were wrong.... I have one claim. There was a good chance of reaching a ceasefire. Had they not curbed it,” Bennett replied
The former Prime Minister said that the reason given by the Western powers to end negotiations was “complex,” but that they had wanted to create a perception which would scare other “thugs in the world,” and mentioned that pressing against Russia “reflects on other arenas such as China, Taiwan, and there are consequences.”
Bennett’s effort to achieve a truce was closed off prior to the late-March breakthrough at Istanbul, although he refers to a final end of negotiations as occurring with Kiev’s April 1 allegations of Russian atrocities in Bucha. Regardless, one should recall that the breakthrough in the Istanbul negotiations occasioned Russia’s gesture of withdrawing from Kiev’s suburbs. And overlooked by most is that, to do so, they deliberately did not make a case over the provocative videotape of Ukrainians’ executing captured Russian soldiers days earlier. Then after some days of Kiev’s irregulars cleaning out Ukrainian citizens whom they considered to have cooperated with Russians, Kiev loudly proclaimed its allegation that Russia had executed civilians in Bucha.
RT’s coverage reported on Bennett’s March 5, 2022 meeting with Putin in Moscow: “Bennett described Putin as ‘smart and sharp,’ and a supporter of the Jewish people. However, he said that the Russian leader’s demeanor became cold when Zelenskyy and his officials were mentioned, with Putin describing them as ‘Nazis’ and ‘warmongers.’ ”
Of some note is Bennett’s report that his flight to Moscow was urged by Zelenskyy, who feared for his life. Even though March 5 was a Saturday, Bennett, an observant Jew, invoked the exclusion that he could fly on the Sabbath in order to save human life. Bennett says that Zelenskyy, who was still in undisclosed locations during this period, asked Bennett to secure assurance from Putin that he would not assassinate Zelenskyy. Putin had no trouble providing such an assurance, and Bennett immediately called Zelenskyy to tell him the good news. Within hours Zelenskyy resumed working from his own official quarters, where he made announced in a video recording that he was “not afraid” of being killed.
Unmentioned is that also on March 5, the Ukraine-Russia negotiations in Belarus that had started within two weeks of Russia’s military operation were disrupted when Ukraine’s state security apparatus, SBU, executed one of Ukraine’s negotiators, Denys Kireyev, identified by the Defense Ministry as an agent of its military intelligence. SBU insisted Kireyev was a Russia spy.