Brazilian Lula snubs
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and newly inaugurated Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva discussed who is responsible for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Monday night, as the latter suggested Kyiv may also be at fault.
Scholz arrived in the capital Brasilia on Monday evening as part of a trip to South America aimed at advancing a long-delayed trade and political cooperation agreement between the EU and Mercosur, and rallying countries in the global South. behind Western support for Ukraine.
Yet on Ukraine, Scholz received a brutal rebuff.
After the amicable start of a joint press conference, during which the Brazilian president said he wanted to finalize the trade agreement with the EU “by the end of the current semester”, the he mood deteriorated after Lula brought up the war in Ukraine and rejected Germany’s appeal. to support Kyiv with arms and ammunition.
“If one doesn’t want, two can’t fight,” Lula told reporters, implying that Ukraine also played a role in the Russian invasion.
“I think the reason for the war between Russia and Ukraine also needs to be clearer. Is it because of NATO? Is it because of territorial claims? Is it because of the entry in Europe? The world has little information about it,” Lula added. .
While he said Russia had made “a classic mistake” by invading Ukrainian territory, he also claimed that neither side showed enough will to resolve the war through negotiation: “No one wants to back down from ‘one millimetre,’ he said.
The leftist president’s remarks could be read as an affront, particularly to Western leaders, who hailed Lula’s election last year as a chance to lift Brazil out of the international isolation that the former president of right Jair Bolsonaro had established.
Scholz – one of the first foreign leaders to visit the country after Lula’s inauguration earlier this month – said earlier at the press conference: “We are all happy that Brazil is back on the scene. world”.
After Lula’s remarks on Ukraine, the German Chancellor said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not just a European problem, but “a flagrant violation of international law” and that it undermines ” the basis of our cooperation in the world and also for peace”.
Lula, for his part, criticized the mediation efforts so far: “So far, sincerely, I haven’t heard much about how to achieve peace in this war.” Instead, he proposed creating a peace-focused club of non-aligned countries like China, Brazil, India and Indonesia, which he said have so far not been involved in talks on the war.
He also dismissed the possibility that Brazil could help Ukraine repel Russian missile or drone attacks by selling its German-made Gepard air defense tank units with corresponding ammunition: “Brazil has no interest to hand over ammunition that can be used in the war between Ukraine and Russia,” Lula said. “We are a country committed to peace.”
Scholz countered by saying that Brazil’s past might have been much less peaceful if its South American neighbors applied an imperialist logic similar to what Putin is currently practicing in Ukraine.
“What kind of territorial disputes would all be possible if everyone just flipped through their history books, like the Russian president, and looked at where a border was? If you make that the criterion, then we won’t have peace in the world,” he said.
Sonya Angelica Diehn and Aitor Hernández-Morales contributed reporting.