Brazil’s president said he did not want to “please anyone” with his view of the conflict after he stoked criticism in the West after suggesting that Kiev was partly responsible for the war.
Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva has called for a “negotiated” solution to the Russia-Ukraine war, saying he does not want to “please anyone” with his view of the conflict.
Lula, who is seeking to restore Brazil’s role as a dealmaker and middleman, has angered Ukraine, saying Kiev is responsible for the war and has not joined Western countries in imposing sanctions on Moscow or supplying Kiev with ammunition.
“While my government condemns violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, we support a negotiated political solution to the conflict,” Lula told reporters after meeting Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon on Saturday.
The Brazilian leader, who was greeted by protesters on his arrival in Portugal, said his aim was to “create a way for them both to [Russia and Ukraine] to the table”.
“I want to find a third option [to solve the conflict]this is peace-building,” he told a news conference.
“President Lula believes that the path to a just and lasting peace means making negotiations a priority.
“Portugal’s position is different. We believe that for the path to peace to be possible, Ukraine must first have the right to respond to the invasion.”
Lula, 77, who returned to office in January after serving as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, met U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., in February and visited Brazil’s largest trading partner earlier this month China.
Lula has faced criticism in the West for suggesting that Ukraine and Russia were responsible for the conflict that began when Moscow invaded its neighbor in February 2022.
Last week he said the United States and European allies should stop supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying they were prolonging the war.
“If you don’t make peace, you fuel war,” Lula said.
The White House accused Lula of “copying” 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 “reclaim” its territory.
Lula’s comments about the war outraged Portugal’s Ukrainian community, leading to demonstrations outside the Brazilian embassy on Friday.
Earlier Saturday, Lula attended a welcome ceremony outside the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon. Two Ukrainian supporters carrying flags and placards were not allowed to stand near the ceremony area after police told them they had not applied for authorization to protest.