Israeli PM says he respects Putin, won't get involved in Ukrainian conflict

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he respects Russian President Vladimir Putin and will not interfere with the war in Ukraine as Israel has plenty of its own problems.

"We are colleagues, respect one another and speak openly to each other," Netanyahu said in an interview with the Lithuanian national broadcaster LRT's Dienos Tema (The Theme of the Day) program, aired on Monday.

Th Israeli prime minister said he asked the Russian leader "to get Iran out of Syria" due to Teheran's threat to Israel.

Asked by the journalist whether he could also ask Russia to withdraw its army from Ukraine, Netanyahu said: "You know, I have enough politics on my plate".

"We deal with Russia on the matters that pertain to us. We are an important country, a strong country but we limit our discussions to our immediate neighborhood. I don't want to create a misunderstanding, to give false appearances," the Israeli prime minister said.

During his visit to Lithuania last week, Netanyahu asked the Baltic leaders to convince the European Union step up pressure on Iran and follow in the steps of the United States and renew sanctions on Teheran over its nuclear program.

Netanyahu says Iran's overall threat let Israel to normalize relations with Arab countries, and that can assist in securing peace with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian officials say they want Israel to better understand the Baltic states' concerns regarding Russia. Israel has not joined the EU, the US and other Western countries which imposed sanctions on Moscow over its intervention in Ukraine.

On May 9 this year, the Israeli prime minister attended the WWII victory commemoration in Russia and even wore a St George's Ribbon. Critics say this symbol should not be used as this ribbon has become a symbol of Russian imperialism and pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine.

Source: BNS
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