(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that Israel was undertaking many efforts to arrange top-level peace talks between his country and Russia and suggested they might take place in Jerusalem.
Zelenskiy, speaking in his daily video appeal to Ukrainians after addressing Israel’s parliament by video link, said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had been trying to act as an intermediary between Kyiv and Moscow.
“Of course, Israel has its interests, strategy to protect its citizens. We understand all of it,” said Zelenskiy, seated at a desk in his trademark khaki T-shirt.
“The prime minister of Israel, Mr. Bennett is trying to find a way of holding talks. And we are grateful for this. We are grateful for his efforts, so that sooner or later we will begin to have talks with Russia, possibly in Jerusalem.
“That’s the right place to find peace. If possible.”
In the past week, Bennett has intensified his efforts to bring the two sides together and has spoken on several occasions to both Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last week, he flew in secret to Moscow to meet the Kremlin leader.
Zelenskiy, who is Jewish, also addressed again the Russian accusation that he heads an administration that espouses “Nazism”.
Switching from his usual Ukrainian to Russian in his remarks, he said: “Russian propagandists have a tough job on their hands today. For the first time, a Ukrainian president spoke to the parliament of Israel and, by video recording, to the people of Israel, a Ukrainian accused of Nazism by Moscow.
“This very fact already proves that things are not as Moscow says.”
(Reporting by Ron Popeski, Lidia Kelly and Oleksandr Kozhukhar; Writing by Ron Popeski; Editing by Stephen Coates)