Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he is disappointed in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s stance on the conflict.
Zelenskyy, who spoke to reporters at a press conference from a secret location in Kyiv on Thursday, said that he had hoped the Israeli government would be more supportive.
“Today, I saw a beautiful picture of people wrapped in the Ukraine flag at the Western Wall, praying for this country. I am grateful for that,” he said, Ynet News reported. “I spoke to the Israeli leaders. We have decent relations, but those are tested in times of crisis. I don’t feel that the Israeli government has wrapped itself with the Ukrainian flag,” he said.
The Ukrainian leader spoke as another round of talks between Ukraine and Russia began on Thursday to end the conflict.
Zelenskyy said that he was ready to discuss ending the conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Do you want peace?” he asked. “Sit down and talk to me but not from 30 meters away like with [French President Emanuel] Macron,” he said referring to a meeting between the Russian and French leaders in Moscow earlier this month, “I am your neighbor; I am a normal man,” he said, Ynet News reported.
Despite voting to support a U.N. resolution on Wednesday reprimanding Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Israel has walked a diplomatic tightrope on the conflict. While it supported Ukraine and sent humanitarian aid, it has also been nuanced in its approach to Russia and has avoided directly condemning Moscow. Bennett has spoken to both Zelenskyy and Putin multiple times in recent days and has reportedly offered to mediate an end to the conflict.
Speaking on Thursday at Tel Aviv’s CyberTech conference, Bennett warned that Ukraine faces “total destruction.”
“Things are looking bad on the ground right now, but it’s important to understand that if world leaders don’t act quickly, it can get much worse,” he said. “I’m talking about untold loss of life, total destruction of Ukraine. Millions of refugees. And it’s not too late.”
“It’s the responsibility of the major players in the world to get the two sides out of the battlefield and on to the negotiation table,” he added.