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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has offered to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Image Credit: REUTERS

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Saturday to discuss the Ukraine crisis, his spokesperson said.

Israel, home to a substantial population of Russian immigrants, has offered to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, though officials have previously played down expectations of a breakthrough.

While Israel, a close ally of the United States, has condemned the Russian attacks, voiced solidarity with Kyiv and sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine, it has said it will maintain communications with Moscow in the hope of helping to ease the crisis.

Israel is also mindful of Moscow’s military support for President Bashar Al Assad in next-door Syria, where Israel regularly attacks Iranian and Hezbollah military targets.

Contacts with Moscow prevent Russian and Israeli forces trading fire by accident.

Bennett, a religious Jew, took a flight in violation of Sabbath law because Judaism permits this when the aim is to preserve human life, his spokesperson said.