Putin "gave assurance" that he would not kill Zelensky during the secret summit
The Russian president made this promise in a desperate effort to broker peace after the invasion of Ukraine.
London: Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged not to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky, his Ukrainian counterpart, during a meeting with him just weeks after his troops invaded Ukraine last year.
Naftali Bennett, who quit politics in June last year after his coalition lost its majority and led to its November election loss has recounted details of his secret trip to Moscow last January to help broker a peaceful settlement between the two parties.
After the invasion, he was the first Western leader to visit the Kremlin. He met with Putin for three hour, then flew to Berlin to meet with Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, in an attempt to mediate a halt to the war between Russia, Ukraine, and two countries that have long-standing cultural and political ties to Israel." I knew Zelensky was in danger, in a bunker... I said to Putin, 'Do you intend killing Zelensky?' Bennett recalled the conversation, which was posted on his YouTube channel.
The Times reported in March that Zelensky survived three assassinations attempts by the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group and Chechen Special Forces.According to reports, the assassination attempts were stopped by anti-war elements within Russia’s Federal Security Service. The Wagner group mercenaries in Kyiv suffered heavy losses during Zelensky's assassination attempt. According to a source close to the group, it was "eerie" to see how well-informed the president's security team seemed to be.
Israel has tried to maintain a neutral stance in the war and kept channels open with both Russia, and Ukraine. Over fears of angering Moscow and to avoid jeopardizing its decade-long campaign against Iran's northern border, Israel has refused to arm Kyiv.
This issue has caused tension between Jerusalem and Kyiv as the Ukrainians have repeatedly pressed Israel for more defense aid. The New York Times reported last week that the US military was secretly shipping to Ukraine hundreds of thousands of artillery guns from a huge stockpile it has in Israel.
Bennett, Israel's Orthodox premier, flew to Moscow on Shabbat. This is something that observant Jews are forbidden from doing according to Jewish law. However, exceptions are made for medical and security situations in which life may be at risk." We flew in absolute secrecy on a rusty plane from Israel through Kazakhstan, because we couldn’t fly over the Black Sea. Bennett stated that they prayed and blessed the Sabbath wine on the way. It was very emotional.
He claimed that they landed in Moscow, where it was raining and cold, on their first trip to the city. Bennett recalled that he was accompanied by Ze'ev Elkin (the housing and construction minister at the time), who is originally from Ukraine. He also speaks fluent Russian. Elkin had previously served as a translator for Netanyahu during his meetings with Putin.