image Photo: Reuters, Flash90

Possible Kyiv-Moscow peace talks in Jerusalem

Officials confirm Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s proposal that ceasefire talks with Russia be held in Israel’s capital.

By Erin Viner

“The idea to hold a summit in Jerusalem has also been raised before. If it can contribute, I think we, of course, must agree and take the idea forward,” said Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky said while speaking to Channel 12 news.

“The question is not really where but what. If we get to the ‘what,’ then of course there can be a meeting in Jerusalem,” he said.

“There can be a meeting anywhere, but Jerusalem has symbolic significance – and I think President Zelenskyy is referring precisely to that significance,” the Israeli Ambassador further noted.

Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovych affirmed that holding the talks in Jerusalem was personally proposed by Zelenskyy as a “realistic” locale given Israel’s good relations with both Ukraine and Russia.

“There is certain progress regarding the talks between the two countries, and if President Zelenskyy says it is an option, it would probably happen,” Arestovych said during an interview with Israel’s Ynet news outlet.

Ukraine is also receptive to efforts by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to mediate the conflict, which erupted on 24 February when Russia invaded the East European nation. The Israeli leader has remained in continuous contact with leaders of both countries, and even flew to Moscow for consultations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We feel that Israel is more involved in the talks, and we really appreciate the effort,” Arestovych told Ynet.

Stressing that truce negotiations would not get underway until the withdrawal of Russian forces, the Ukrainian Presidential Advisor  estimated “that depending on developments, a ceasefire would be reached in two weeks or in late April, and possibly early May.”

Meanwhile,  Ukrainian President Zelenskyy will address the Knesset over Zoom in a special session next week, likely on Sunday, even though the Israeli parliament is on recess. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center declined the Ukrainian leader’s request to convene a similar event on grounds that the institution dedicated to preserving the memory of victims of the Jewish genocide is not a suitable location.