MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has slammed Israeli former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s remarks that talks between Russia and Ukraine at the beginning of the special military operation were interrupted by Western countries as "another confession."
She recalled that Bennett, who acted as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine at the beginning of the special operation, said that all of his actions had been agreed in detail with the United States, Germany, and France. "They interrupted the talks," he said.
The former Israeli prime minister, she noted, also said that at some point the West decided "to crush [Russian President Vladimir] Putin rather than to negotiate."
"Yet another confession," Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel on Sunday.
In his first interview after vacating his office, Bennett, who acted as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine in early 2022, shared his recollections about contacts with both sides. Among other things, he said that President Putin had granted physical security to his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky. According to Bennett, he told that the Ukrainian president over the phone, "returned to his office and recorded a video from his office," where he said he was afraid of nothing. At the same time, Bennett recalled, it was Zelensky, who feared for his life, to ask him to raise this topic with Putin.
In April 2022, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Russian-Ukrainian talks that were proceeding quite successfully in Istanbul, were broken down "on the direct order from the United States and London," which "totally control the Zelensky regime." Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutrky, who was a member of the Russian delegation to the talks with Kiev, also said that Zelensky had "evidently received an order from the Washington patrons to frustrate the negotiations."
In February 2023, Lavrov said that Russia is acting as the West wanted, i.e. seeking "victory on the battlefield." "This is their formula. It was them who refused from the talks and forced the Kiev regime to withdraw from the negotiating process at the moment when in late March there was a possibility to end it politically," he said.