Brazil’s Lula backs Russia-Ukraine talks to end war

Brazilian president says he does not want to ‘please anyone’ with his views about the conflict after he provoked criticism in the West for suggesting Kyiv was in part to blame for the war.

Lula and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Lula is on his first visit to Europe since being elected president [Rodrigo Antunes/Reuters]

Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva has called for a “negotiated” settlement to the Russia-Ukraine war and said he does not want to “please anyone” with his views about the conflict.

Lula, who is seeking to revive Brazil’s role as a dealmaker and go-between, angered Ukraine by saying Kyiv shared blame for the war and has not joined Western nations in imposing sanctions on Moscow or supplying ammunition to Kyiv.

“While my government condemns the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, we support a negotiated political solution to the conflict,” Lula told journalists on Saturday after meeting Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon.

The Brazilian leader, who was greeted by protesters when he arrived in Portugal, said his aim was to “build a way to bring both of them [Russia and Ukraine] to the table”.

“I want to find a third alternative [to solve the conflict], which is the construction of peace,” he told a news conference.

Portugal’s president said: “President Lula believes the road to a just and lasting peace implies making negotiation a priority.

“Portugal has a different position. We think that for a road to peace to become a possibility, Ukraine must first have the right to respond to the invasion.”

Lula, 77, who resumed office in January after previously serving as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, met US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC in February and earlier this month visited China, Brazil’s largest trading partner.

Lula has been criticised in the West for suggesting Ukraine and Russia are to blame for the conflict that began when Moscow invaded its neighbour in February 2022.

Last week he said the United States and European allies should stop supplying arms to Ukraine, saying they were prolonging the war.

“If you are not making peace, you are contributing to war,” said Lula.

The White House accused Lula of “parroting” Russian and Chinese propaganda.

Portugal is a founding member of NATO and has sent military equipment to Ukraine. Rebelo de Sousa said Ukraine had the right to defend itself and “recover” its territory.

Lula’s comments about the war have angered the Ukrainian community in Portugal, where a demonstration was held outside the Brazilian embassy on Friday.

Earlier on Saturday, Lula attended a welcome ceremony outside Lisbon’s Jerónimos Monastery. Two Ukraine supporters carrying a flag and a sign were not allowed to stand near the ceremony’s area because police officers told them they had not requested authorisation to protest.

Source: News Agencies