Russia, "Israel" express mutual interest in developing relations
Bennett accepts Putin's apology for Lavrov's statements, according to the Israeli PM's office.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, on the so-called Israeli "Independence Day" in a phone call on Thursday, the Kremlin revealed.
The Kremlin read in a statement, "Russian President of Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett," adding that Putin "warmly" congratulated Bennett on the holiday.
The two sides expressed mutual interest in developing "friendly" relations while speaking of the May 9 "Victory Day" between Russians and Israelis.
"On the eve of Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War, which is celebrated in both Russia and Israel on May 9, Vladimir Putin and Naftali Bennet emphasized the special significance of this date for the people of both countries, who carefully preserve the historical truth about the events of those years and honor the memory of all the fallen including victims of the Holocaust," the Kremlin said.
These lukewarm statements come just after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks of "Hitler had Jewish blood" on Monday. In the phone call, Putin apologized to Bennett for Lavrov's statements, which the latter said he "accepted", as per the claims of the Israeli PM's office.
Putin, Bennett discuss evacuation of civilians from Mariupol’s Azovstal
In the phone call, Putin and Bennett discussed the current events in Ukraine, particularly the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
Read more: Humanitarian corridors at Mariupol steel plant "functioning": Kremlin
"A thorough exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine continued. Particular attention was paid to humanitarian issues, including the evacuation of civilians held by militants of nationalist groups from the territory of the Azovstal plant in cooperation with representatives of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Today, the Kremlin announced that humanitarian corridors to get civilians out of Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant were functioning, after the Russian Army announced a three-day ceasefire at the site.
"The corridors are functioning today," Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that the steelworks remained besieged by Russian forces.
Earlier, the Russian military has declared a fresh unilateral pause in its operation at the Azovstal steelworks complex in Mariupol, offering to provide humanitarian corridors for people who are believed to have been trapped within the site for three days.
The steel factory is the city's final stronghold controlled by the Ukrainian military and members of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.