Israel, Ukraine deny report Bennett recommended yielding to Russian demands

A top Ukrainian adviser and an Israeli official on Saturday pushed back against a media report suggesting Israel tried to nudge Ukraine into caving to Russian demands during talks.

Israel has been engaged in diplomatic efforts to try to end the war in Ukraine. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Israel, “just as other conditional intermediary countries, does NOT offer Ukraine to agree to any demands of the Russian Federation,” Ukrainian adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. “This is impossible for military & political reasons. On the contrary, Israel urges Russia to assess the events more adequately.”

Russian rocket attacks destroyed a Ukrainian airbase near the town of Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region on Saturday morning, Interfax Ukraine quoted the local mayor as saying.

The rocket attacks also hit an ammunition depot, Vasylkiv Mayor Natalia Balasynovych said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that Russia was sending new forces to Ukraine after suffering what he said was its biggest loss in decades.

Zelensky also said he had spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron about pressuring Russia to release the mayor of the city of Melitopol, who Ukraine says was kidnapped on Friday by Russian forces.

Macron and Scholz have started a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine, the French presidency said on Saturday.

Macron had said at a European Union summit on Friday that he and Scholz would hold a fresh call with Putin in the coming hours after a previous three-way exchange on Thursday.

In a televised address, Zelenskiy urged Russia to uphold an agreed ceasefire to allow evacuations to proceed from the besieged port city of Mariupol, after blaming Moscow for the failure of previous attempts.

Ukraine expects a new wave of attacks on the Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donbas regions after a slowdown in Russia’s offensive, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, said on Saturday.

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