Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met for about three hours Saturday with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, according to an Israeli official.
The unannounced meeting took place with the blessing of the US administration, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The Israeli official said that Bennett’s diplomatic push was also coordinated with Germany and France and added that the Israeli leader “is in ongoing dialogue with Ukraine.”
Bennett also spoke with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday following his meeting with Putin.
Ukraine's ambassador to Israel told CNN that Ukrainian leadership was informed in advance of Bennett's meeting with Putin and had been supportive of it.
Following the conclusion of the Moscow meeting, Bennett is now en route to Berlin for a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Israeli official said.
Three days ago, Bennett held separate phone conversations with both Putin and Zelensky.
Zelensky has appealed to Israel to mediate efforts to bring about a ceasefire.
While Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion in comments by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Bennett himself has avoided direct criticism of Russia or Putin.
Israel has sought to maintain good relations with Russia in recent years so it can continue air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria – which Israel regards as critical to prevent the transfer of precision-guided missile technology to Hezbollah.