“It’s Not Looking Great,” Says Israeli PM on Ukraine

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You have been mediating. You went to Russia. You talked to President Putin. You have spoken to President Zelenskyy. Can you tell me where those efforts are right now?

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, at the end of the day, there needs to be a strong will, primarily of both sides, but I am at the service of President Zelenskyy at which point he will want us to reenter serious mediation. And, at the end of the day, he has to decide the fate of his own country. In various instances, he asked me to go and then meet the other side and meet President Putin in order to solve local problems or try and achieve an end to the war. I hope we will see an end to the war as soon as possible, but it’s not looking great.

AMANPOUR: It’s not. And I believe, when you met Putin, he said defeat is not an option for him. And he was quite keen on pursuing, as we have seen since your visits, this war. But I do want to ask you, because it’s notable that, while Israel has condemned the invasion, you have not supported sanctions. You, yourself, do not. I mean, you avoid criticizing Putin or Russia. You leave that to your foreign minister. I wonder if that’s a posture you can still maintain after Bucha, after President Putin actually honored the units who are believed to have carried out the atrocities against ordinary civilians in Bucha?

BENNETT: Well, actually, we have condemned Russia’s aggression many times. We voted at the U.N., together with the United States, to condemn Russia’s actions. Moreover, we’re actually doing stuff. Israel was the first country in the world to send a field hospital to Western Ukraine. This field hospital is still operating. It’s treated thousands of Ukrainians in distress, saved lives. We’re sending over loads of airplanes to support Ukrainian humanitarian areas. And we will continue to do so. I’m also determined to not allow Israel to become a bypass to any form of sanctions. I will say that I know that, in order to mediate later at the right moment, we do need to continue to preserve lines of communications with Russia as well. Otherwise, we won’t be able to mediate.

About This Episode EXPAND

Israel’s Prime Minister gives an exclusive interview on clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem and the war in Ukraine. Sen. Chris Murphy discusses U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. Foreign policy expert Trita Parsi explains why non-Western countries see Russia’s war differently from the West. “We Own This City” author Justin Fenton analyzes the surge in violent crime in the U.S.