Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also reiterated his call for Russia and Ukraine to negotiate peace.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has condemned “violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” after he was criticized for comments he made over the weekend about Russia’s invasion of the country.
However, the leftist leader did double down on calls to mediate the conflict, which began in February 2022.
“While my government condemns violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, we advocate a negotiated political solution to the conflict,” Lula said after meeting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
The Brazilian leader explained that he had expressed to Iohannes “concerns” about the “global consequences” of the war “in terms of food and energy security, especially in the poorest regions of the planet”.
Brazil has positioned itself as a peace advocate in the war in Ukraine, which has left as many as 21,965 Ukrainian civilians injured or killed as of March, although the United Nations estimates the total could be “much higher”.
But over the weekend, Lula’s comments inflamed international relations, appearing to blame Ukraine for its role in the conflict, saying the decision to go to war was “made by both countries”.
He also criticized the United States and Europe for “fueling” hostilities by supplying weapons to Ukraine. Lula explained that he wanted to create a “group of countries that have nothing to do with war and do not want war” to lead the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
The Brazilian president’s remarks — followed by a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Brazil on Monday — sparked an outcry from Ukraine, the United States and its allies.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko called on Lula to visit the war-torn country “to understand the true causes and nature of Russia’s aggression and its implications for the global safety implications”.
“Ukraine is watching with interest the efforts of the Brazilian president to find a solution to end the war,” Nikolenko wrote. “At the same time, the practice of putting victim and aggressor on the same scale” does not “fit the situation.”
At a news conference later in the day, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration similarly rejected Lula’s comments, echoing earlier comments by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby about Brazil’s “parroting” of Russian propaganda. criticize.
“The United States — and you’ve heard us say it many times — has no objection to any country that tries to end Russia’s war on Ukraine,” press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre told reporters, adding that she remained “very concerned about the U.S.-Pakistan war.” confidence in the strength of the relationship.”
But Jean-Pierre stressed that the war in Ukraine was a war waged by Russia and “the war they chose”. She dismissed claims that “suggest that the US and Europe are not interested in peace or that we are responsible for the war”.
Jean-Pierre said the “tone” of Lula’s speech “was not neutral or true. So we will continue to speak out against that.”
Lula has previously called on Russia to withdraw territories it has invaded since February 2022, but he also suggested that Ukraine may withdraw its claim to Crimea on the Black Sea peninsula, which Russia invaded in 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected any such proposals.
On Monday, Lula’s foreign policy adviser Celso Amorim told news outlet Globo that the Brazilian president never meant to “offend” anyone. He also said Brazil did not share Russia’s view of the war – and did not want to “beat” Russia.
“Brazil defends the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Amorim explained. But he repeated his call for a negotiated peace: “As long as there are no negotiations, the peace that the Ukrainians and Russians want will not happen. There must be concessions.”