Israeli Prime Minister meets with Putin, calls Zelenskyy

Bennett on Saturday became the first Western leader to sit down with Putin since he launched his invasion of Ukraine.
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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sochi, Russia, Oct. 22, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sochi, Russia, Oct. 22, 2021
Yevgeny Biyatov\TASS via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is acting as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and speaking several times with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the phone. 

Bennett on Saturday became the first Western leader to sit down with Putin since he launched his invasion of Ukraine.

Putin and Bennett "discussed various aspects of the situation in Ukraine in the context of Russia's special military operation to protect Donbass," according to a translated Kremlin press release.

Bennett also traveled to Berlin over the weekend to help facilitate dialogue, "of course with the blessing and encouragement of all players," he said.

On Sunday, Bennett and Putin held a follow-up call to discuss the situation. 

"As we all know, the situation on the ground is not good. The human suffering is great and may be much greater, if things continue on the current trajectory," Bennett told his cabinet. "There are also Israelis who need to return home and distressed Jewish communities that need help."

Bennett's office stated on Sunday that he called Zelenskyy on Sunday, marking the third conversation between the two over the last day.

Zelenskyy tweeted that he and Bennett will "continue dialogue" after their phone conversation.

Israel was reportedly considering a massive airlift of 75,000 Ukrainian Jews. It is unclear whether the country still plans to go forward with this.

Bennett on Sunday was able to meet 90 Jewish orphans who fled Ukraine, as part of a larger evacuation of 300 Jews.