BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday expressed gratitude to Brazil for its approach to pressing for an end to hostilities in Ukraine – an effort that has infuriated Kiev and the West, and by the afternoon drew an unusually sharp rebuke from Russia. White House.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva refused to supply arms to Ukraine while proposing to create a club of countries including Brazil and China to broker peace.
On Sunday, Lula told reporters in Abu Dhabi that two countries – Russia and Ukraine – had decided to go to war, and the day before in Beijing he said the US should stop “motivating” the ongoing fighting. And start discussing peace. Earlier this month, he suggested that Ukraine cede Crimea to end the warThis was rejected by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko and others.
After meeting Brazil’s foreign minister on Monday, Lavrov told reporters at a brief press conference that the West had engaged in a “rather tough struggle” to maintain its dominance in world affairs, including the economy and geopolitics.
“As for the operation in Ukraine, we are grateful to our Brazilian friends for their excellent understanding of the formation of this situation. Sitting next to his Brazilian counterpart Mauro Vieira, Lavrov said:
Lula’s recent comments, in particular blaming Ukraine for the Russian invasion in February 2022, contradict the position taken by the European Union, the United States and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Any talk of a ceasefire is seen as an opportunity for Russia to regroup its forces to launch a new offensive. Zelensky told the Associated Press last month A loss anywhere at this point in the war could jeopardize Ukraine’s hard-fought momentum.
For his part, Vieira told reporters that Brazil believes that the sanctions against Russia cause negative effects on the global economy, especially in developing countries, and that Brazil supports an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.
After the meeting, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby criticized Brazil’s approach to the war and its officials meeting with Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin in person, while he has so far only spoken to Ukrainian officials by phone.
“Brazil has substantively and rhetorically addressed this issue by signaling that somehow the United States and Europe are not interested in peace or that we share responsibility for the war,” Kirby told reporters in Washington. “In this case, Brazil is parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda without looking at the facts at all.”
Kirby said the Biden administration had hoped Lula and others would urge the Russians to “stop bombing Ukrainian cities, hospitals, and schools, stop war crimes and atrocities, and, quite frankly, pull Russian forces out of Ukraine.”
The two foreign ministers met with Lula this afternoon.
As part of his efforts to end the war, Lula also withheld munitions from Ukraine, despite the request of German Chancellor Olaf Schultz. Lula said that sending the supplies would mean entering Brazil into the war he seeks to end.
His administration seeks to simultaneously develop relations with China, Europe, and the United States while keeping the door open to Russia. However, his recent statements may have undermined his efforts to secure these competing goals, said Christopher Jarman, managing director for the Americas at the political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.
“It’s not a good look,” Garman said on the phone, “when you have the Russian chancellor alongside, and that’s the Russian position.” “Optics diminish Brazil’s credibility as an independent referee, but I think the import is even greater because of the current storms that Lula has stoked with his comments in China and the UAE.”
There were already indications that Moscow appreciated Lula’s position. As of late February, the Russian Foreign Ministry endorsed Lula’s plan to create a club of supposed psychics, said one of about 50 confidential documents leaked on Discord that the AP saw, because she would “reject the West’s” “aggressor-victim model.” The component cited electronic surveillance as a source.
Critics have argued that Brazil’s position is aimed at avoiding confrontation with a major fertilizer supplier for soybean farms.Its exports are largely directed to China. Russia and China both hold permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, which Brazil has sought for decades to join. Lavrov told reporters on Monday that Russia supports Brazil’s offer.
Vinicius Vieira, a professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a university and think tank, said Lula’s comments about Ukraine were “poorly calibrated” and that arguing that Kiev should cede Crimea appeared to favor Russia.
“The fertilizer issue is fundamental, but it will be well resolved with Brazil remaining neutral, inviting all parties to speak, but without saying that Ukraine owes something to Russia,” Vieira said.
After his stay in Brazil, Lavrov will go to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
In an article published on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, Lavrov seemed to throw the trade relationship of Latin American countries – in particular the relationship between Russia and Brazil, especially with regard to fertilizers – as a background. and the source of leverage for possible discussions over Brazil’s continued refusal to supply arms to Ukraine, which Moscow would like to guarantee.
Brazil’s foreign minister told reporters that Russia accounts for a quarter of this South American country’s fertilizer imports, and that he had discussed with Lavrov measures to ensure their flow.
Madani reported from Washington. Associated Press photojournalist Kostya Maninkov contributed from Tallinn, Estonia, and journalist Elise Morton contributed from London.
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