Israel continues Russia-Ukraine diplomacy efforts

March 16, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday, the latest in a series of conversations between Israeli and Russia and Ukraine officials in an attempt to mediate between the two sides.

FM Yair Lapid. (Yuval Penn/GPO)

Lapid said that the conversation with Kuleba was “long and positive,” and that Kuleba thanked Israel for “its mediation efforts and its position on the matter of sanctions.”

Lapid “assured me Israel won’t be the route for Russia to bypass sanctions,” Kuleba stated.

Lapid stated Monday while in Bratislava, Slovakia, that Israel “will not be a route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other western countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating the issue together with partners including the Bank of Israel, the Finance Ministry, the Economy Ministry, the Airports Authority, the Energy Ministry, and others.”

In the conversation, Lapid updated Kuleba “on the humanitarian aid that Israel has already sent to Ukraine and on the field hospital that Israel is sending.”

The government approved on Monday evening a program to send a field hospital to Ukraine for treating refugees in the west of the country. The “Shining Star” humanitarian mission, named after former Prime Minister Golda Meir, is expected to be active for a month.

Kuleba also “welcomed Israel’s policy for absorbing refugees,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated, while Kuleba said that they “agreed that the rights of Ukrainians arriving in Israel will be respected.”

Israel has essentially opened its borders almost completely to Ukrainian refugees.

This conversation was preceded by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelinskyy on Monday evening.

The Kremlin stated that Putin and Bennett “continued the exchange of views on the special operation to defend the republics in Donbass,” the tern Russia uses for its invasion of Ukraine.

“In this context, Putin pointed out the latest barbarous action of the Ukrainian military – today’s missile attack at Donetsk central part. The missile had a cluster munition, which resulted in numerous civilian casualties,” his office said.

Bennett told Putin “about his recent contacts on Ukrainian issues with the leaders of a number of states. In turn, Putin told Bennett about his assessments of the negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian representatives, which are being held these days via videoconference. The leaders agreed to maintain contact,” the Kremlin added.

Bennett’s office remained silent on the existence and contents of the conversation.

Zelenskyy said that he “exchanged information on our joint steps and steps of our partners against the background of Russian aggression,” with Bennett.

Bennett’s office remained silent on this conversation as well.

Bennett has held multiple conversations with the two sides in recent days, a desperate but apparently unsuccessful attempt to bring an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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