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Live Ukraine-Russia News: The Latest

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel traveled to Moscow with his national security adviser and other officials on Saturday to meet at the Kremlin with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, according to Israeli and Russian officials.

Interfax, a state-controlled news outlet in Russia, reported that the war in Ukraine was on the agenda. “The situation around Ukraine is being discussed,” a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

Mr. Bennett’s office said in a statement on Saturday evening that the meeting with Mr. Putin lasted about three hours and took place “in coordination and with the blessing of the U.S. administration.” In addition, the statement added, Mr. Bennett was working in coordination with Germany and France and was “in ongoing dialogue with Ukraine.”

There was no immediate information about any outcome from the meeting. A spokeswoman for Mr. Bennett said that he had spoken with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine after his meeting with Mr. Putin.

The Israeli government has tried to maintain good relations with both the Russian and Ukrainian leaders during the current crisis, and Mr. Bennett was previously asked by Mr. Zelensky to mediate between the sides.

Mr. Bennett left Moscow on Saturday evening on his way to Berlin to meet with the Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany. Mr. Scholz was in Israel for a short visit this week and, in a meeting with Mr. Bennett, discussed Israel’s possible role in mediation between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr. Bennett had spoken by phone with Mr. Putin on Wednesday, hours after speaking with Mr. Zelensky, the last of few rounds of phone conversations between them.

In a sign of the urgency of the mission, Mr. Bennett, an observant Jew, left Israel on Saturday morning, during the Sabbath, breaking the religious injunction against travel. According to Jewish religious law, the sanctity of the Sabbath is overridden by the principle of preserving human life.

Mr. Bennett was accompanied by Zeev Elkin, the Israeli housing minister, who assisted with translation, according to the Israeli prime minster’s office. Mr. Elkin frequently acted in a similar capacity over the past decade in meetings between Mr. Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mr. Putin. Mr. Elkin, who is also an observant Jew, was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 1971, when it was part of the Soviet Union, and emigrated to Israel in 1990.

The Israeli delegation also included the prime minister’s national security adviser, Eyal Hulata, his diplomatic adviser, Shimrit Meir, and his spokesman, Matan Sidi.

Mr. Bennett had come in for criticism in recent days, including from Mr. Zelensky, for not siding more stridently with Ukraine and for refraining from supplying it with any military equipment.

Israeli officials said that Israel had to maintain good relations with Russia in order to be able to continue Israel’s military campaign against Iranian and Hezbollah entrenchment in Syria, where Russia maintains a significant presence.

Saturday’s meeting comes after several requests from Mr. Zelensky, both to Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Bennett, to mediate between him and Mr. Putin. The last request was made in a telephone conversation held on Feb. 25, during which Mr. Zelensky also requested military equipment. While declining to send defensive gear, Mr. Bennett agreed to try to mediate between the countries.

Several rounds of telephone conversations followed between Mr. Bennett and Mr. Putin, between Mr. Bennett and Mr. Zelensky, and between officials from their teams. Israeli officials believe the Israeli mediation had some effect in bringing Ukraine to agree to entering into talks with Russia in Belarus.

Mr. Hulata, Israel’s national security adviser, has been updating the White House National Security Council on developments since the telephone conversation with Mr. Zelensky.

Israeli officials said that the meeting at the Kremlin also touched on the progress of the talks in Vienna for a return to a nuclear agreement with Iran, and that Mr. Bennett expressed Israel’s opposition to a return to the agreement.

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