Former Israeli P.M. Says Western Leaders Discouraged Peace Plan for Russia-Ukraine War

“I think there was a legitimate decision by the West to keep striking Putin,” said former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2021

By Hudson Crozier

What happened: Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who mediated talks between Russia and Ukraine in the early months of Russia’s invasion, said in a recent interview that America and other Western nations “blocked” his efforts toward a peace agreement.

The potential agreement: Bennett said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed to give up his demand for the disarmament and “denazification” of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would honor Putin's demand not to pursue NATO membership. Other reports suggested that the two leaders were “softening” their positions at the time.

“They blocked it, and I thought they were wrong.” Bennett said that President Joe Biden, then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were too “aggressive” or “pragmatic” to believe that the plan would go through. Bennett later said that it’s “hard to tell who was right.”

Officials have reportedly made similar comments in the past. A Turkish official said after a NATO meeting that Western countries “want the war to continue” so that “Russia gets weaker.” During a later set of talks between Russia and Ukraine, Prime Minister Johnson told Zelensky to stop negotiating with Putin and that Western countries wouldn’t sign any agreements even if Ukraine supported them, according to anonymous sources close to Zelenksy.

Big picture: As Upward News has explained, America’s involvement in the war is about international power and stature, not an immediate, existential threat to the country. As the U.S. continues devoting vast funds and resources to Ukraine, reports like these raise questions about whether Biden and other world leaders did everything they could to avoid the conflict and loss of life.

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