Former Israel PM secured protection for Zelensky from Putin 

Bennett failed to end the hostilities through his talks, but he was able to secure a promise from Putin – that the Ukrainian President would not be killed.

| Updated: 06 February, 2023 5:39 pm IST

Last year in early March, a week into the Russia-Ukraine war, putting to rest speculations of him fleeing the country, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky made his first public appearance. In his usual dramatic fashion, the actor-turned-politician like a true-blue Hollywood hero declared to the world “I’m staying in Kyiv. In my office. I’m not hiding. And I’m not afraid of anyone.”

The video got wide coverage in western media and most US media outlets hailed Zelensky’s bravery and called him a hero for standing up against the powerful Russian President Vladimir Putin

In what is known now, Zelesky’s confidence came from an assurance right from the Russian President that he would not be killed. Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a 5-hour long interview given to Israel’s Channel 12 revealed that Putin promised not to assassinate his Ukrainian counterpart when he met with former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last year in March.

Bennett was acting as a mediator between the warring countries. In the interview, Bennett recounted details of the meeting between him and Putin in March last year and how it was organized in the hope to stop the worsening of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Bennett failed to end the hostilities through his talks, but he was able to secure a promise from Putin – that the Ukrainian President would not be killed. When the negotiations were going on, Zelensky was hiding in a bunker to avoid an assassination bid.

Putin assured Bennett, “I’m not going to kill Zelensky.” reported The Jerusalem Post.

After securing the promise, Zelensky received a call from Bennett who was still in Moscow to assure him that he could return to his office.

Immediately after returning to his office in Kyiv, the Ukrainian President recorded the video that went viral instantaneously.

Bennett’s meeting was fully coordinated with the help of the United States, Germany, and France.

Bennett, in his interview also revealed Putin’s dire dislike for Zelensky. Two months before the war, Bennett had tried to broach the topic of a possible meeting between the leaders of the two hostile nations. Apparently, the very mention of Zelensky upset Putin. He went from being the “nicest man” to being rather antagonistic in his tone while flatly refusing to meet Zelensky.

The former Israeli PM also revealed that he was close to brokering peace between the two countries in April – nearly a month after the war broke out. However, the West by then had decided to stop all negotiations and “crush” Russia. When asked by the interviewer if the West blocked the negotiations, Bennett responded in the affirmative.

Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a war since February 24, 2022 with neither side backing out.

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