Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly proposed mediating a summit between Russia and Ukraine in October 2021, according to a new Axios report.
“The Ukrainian side first broached the idea of a summit in Israel with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last spring, when Russia was massing troops on the border, but it never gained much traction,” according to the report by Barak Ravid.”
Netanyahu’s administration mentioned the idea in April 2021 to Russia, a plan the Bennett administration’s leaders have now attempted to restart. However, Russia’s leadership reportedly turned down the offer.
While both opposition leader Netanyahu’s office and the Bennett administration have been quiet on the matter, the account makes sense given Israel’s friendly relations with both Russia and Ukraine.
However, Russian threats to invade Ukraine have now escalated, as more than 100,000 Russian troops have been stationed near Ukraine’s border in recent weeks. Ukrainian troops stand ready to respond along the border, but are vastly outnumbered if any invasion were to occur.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Ukraine this week to stand in solidarity with the nation. The trip may not have been much help, however, as the Biden administration has shown no specific plans for intervention by the US.
President Joe Biden held a solo press conference yesterday, during which he was asked about Putin’s plans regarding Ukraine. The president’s soft response revealed the expectation that Russia will act in some way within Ukraine. The US has objected to a disinformation campaign by Russian operatives throughout Ukraine, designed to promote enough instability and violence to serve as a pretext for Russian “intervention.”
The White House was quick to respond following Biden’s remarks. In a statement on the issue, it said, “If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our allies.”
Blinken is now expected to meet with his Russian counterpart in Geneva on Friday in yet another effort for a diplomatic resolution to the tension.