Brazil’s Lula Cold-Shoulders Germany’s Scholz on Ukraine Support

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
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[1/5] German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hold a joint news conference at the Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil January 30, 2023. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

BRASILIA, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday said Moscow made a mistake invading Ukraine, but speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz he kept clear of condemning the Russian attack.

It was the third time on his South American tour that Scholz failed to rally strong support for the Ukrainian war effort.

“I think Russia made the classic mistake of invading another country’s territory, so Russia is wrong,” Lula told reporters.

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“But I still think that when one won’t, two won’t fight. You have to want peace,” he said, adding he had heard very little from either side about finding a peaceful end to the war.

Lula said Brazil would not provide ammunition to Ukraine for German-made Gepard anti-aircraft guns, as reportedly requested by Germany.

A joint statement by the two governments issued later, however, said they “emphatically deplored Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and annexation of parts of its territory as flagrant violations of international law.”

Argentina and Chile’s leaders dashed German hopes they might lend more support for Ukraine during Scholz’s visits there, underscoring ongoing differences between the West and its allies in lower-income countries.

On his tour, Scholz has sought to stress unity, noting all three countries he is visiting – Argentina, Chile and Brazil – condemned Russia’s invasion at the United Nations General Assembly last year.

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In contrast to Lula, the presidents of Argentina and Chile both at least clearly condemned the Russian invasion.

Lula said Brazil will work with other countries to help achieve peace in Ukraine, as his country has not taken sides.

China has an important role to play in peace talks, he said, which he will discuss on a planned visit to Beijing in March.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Sarah Marsh; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lincoln Feast
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