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Zelensky Advisor: Israel’s Netanyahu ‘Can Be Effective Mediator’

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Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv’s Habimah Square to voice their support for Ukraine as the country’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, addressed the Knesset. Photo: Reuters/Corinna Kern

i24 NewsIn a special interview with i24NEWS, Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “can be an effective mediator” between the warring parties of Russia and Ukraine.

“I have no doubt that Netanyahu can be an effective mediator since he understands precisely what modern wars are and what is the essence of mediation under these conditions,” Podolyak said.

He claimed, however, that “Russia does not want there to be a real negotiation,” and that the invading country only wants Kyiv to surrender “under the name of ‘negotiations’.”

“Russia only wants to negotiate the keep the status quo, and most recently, to agree on a ceasefire to upgrade its army, which turned out to not really know how to fight,” Podolyak told i24NEWS, saying the Israeli leader could be effective in mediating when the time is right for peace talks.

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On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a one-day ceasefire “along the entire line of contact” in Ukraine to mark Orthodox Christmas, after calls from Turkey and Russia’s spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill to do so.

Podolyak called the proposal “a cynical trap and an element of propaganda.”

“Negotiations will only be at the end of the war. But when will that be? There are very simple conditions – an immediate ceasefire” and “the withdrawal of Russian forces. We must get back our sovereignty and territorial integrity. After that, we will start the negotiations with the participation of mediators.”

‘You can talk less, but take the right side’

Earlier this week, Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told Israeli officials during his swearing-in ceremony that the Jewish state’s new government would “talk less” about the war but continue humanitarian aid.

“We accept, with respect, the positions of different countries. We need to talk a lot about this kind of war, because it is a genocidal war,” Podolyak said, in response to Cohen’s remarks.

“You can talk less, but the main thing is to take the right side, because there is a reason why Russia is a pariah state today. It was Russia that started the war on its own initiative and without provocation,” he continued.

“Israel, which is constantly in a state of war from various entities, has the basic principles of protecting its territory, its right, and its freedom. Therefore, it would be desirable to focus on supplying aid to Ukraine.”

Israel-Russia ties

On ties between Russia and Israel, Podolyak said he found it strange to “expect a warming of relations” between the two states.

Also earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called his Israeli counterpart Cohen to congratulate him on his inauguration, before discussing a series of bilateral and regional issues. According to a statement, Cohen referred extensively to the Jewish community in Russia and ex-Soviet expatriates in Israel and their importance to relations between the countries.

“It sounds strange to me from the historical point of view and the point of view of the country’s development in the future, including the State of Israel, it is not desirable for the country to have relations with Russia with its current regime,” Podolyak said.

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