Brazilian president: why so Moscow-friendly?

Like China, Brazil is trying to mediate in the Ukraine war. Its proposals: no arms deliveries, Kyiv's renunciation of Crimea and a "Peace G20" for negotiations. President Lula has called on the US and EU to "stop promoting war and start talking about peace". Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seemed very pleased with Brazil's stance during his visit to the country.

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Financial Times (GB) /

All about economics

Lula's warm relations with China and his pro-Russian words come as no surprise for the Financial Times:

“Lula found common ground with Xi over global governance: reducing the dollar's dominance, shifting geoeconomic power towards groups such as the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and criticising the US for encouraging war in Ukraine. ... But China's geopolitical rivals in Washington and Brussels - and Paris - should be more concerned about the direct help Brazil is being offered by Chinese companies. Many emerging markets are in similar positions to Brazil, and their allegiances will be determined as much or more by investment and jobs than global currencies and the Ukraine war.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Lula putting his country on the global stage again

Brazil has a history of pursuing a two-pronged approach, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung points out reassuringly:

“This is not about approving of Lula's position but understanding it. Brazil has a long tradition of neutrality between the major world political blocs. ... After Brazil's wallflower existence under his predecessor, Lula is seeking an important role for his country in world politics. He believes he can get the maximum if he can manoeuvre between the West and China and thus gain the greatest possible ability to act. ... One should not be blinded by Lula's latest charm offensive towards Beijing and Moscow. The Brazilian is too shrewd a geopolitician for us to have to worry about him binding himself unilaterally to the authoritarian major powers.” (UA) /

We have to accept this

Ukraine needs to be clever and accept the fact that countries like Brazil no longer want to be bullied by the US, writes former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on

“In the non-Western world, there is a deep-rooted aversion towards the West in general and the United States in particular. Right now these countries feel they have a chance to free themselves from the 'tutelage' of the United States and the West. ... This does not mean that talking to the Chinese or Brazilians is pointless. Quite the contrary. But we should not create 'mediation groups' with unclear mandates and their own agenda which is fundamentally different from ours.”

Visão (PT) /

Estranged from Europe

Visão accuses the Brazilian president of cosying up to Russia:

“Lula da Silva should ask Zelensky if he can visit Bakhmut or Bucha and so many other scenes of death and total destruction. Instead of honouring the Russian soldiers, the Brazilian president would have to kneel in front of the mass graves where innocent civilians, old people, young people and children, were massacred. It is clear that Latin America is not connected to what is happening in Eastern Europe, nor does it live with the constant threat of a nuclear power, but this current estrangement will only widen the gap between the two continents.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

As clueless as the Pope

Krytyka Polityczna also has no understanding for the Brazilian president's attitude:

“Given Lula's biography and the history of the Latin American left, it's understandable that he is sceptical of the US leadership and may be unfamiliar with the grim reality of Russian imperialism. ... However, Lula's complete blindness to the question of who invaded and who was invaded, his failure to see that Ukraine is fighting a just defensive war, is astonishing even in this context. In this respect he resembles another charismatic leader from Latin America, Pope Francis. Both are characterised by the same mindless symmetry, naïve pacifism and ignorance of the realities in our region.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Siding with the aggressor

From a leftist perspective Lula's position is morally and politically bankrupt, the taz writes in fury:

“Anti-imperialist solidarity with an invaded country? Nope. Lula says that under no circumstances will he become part of a new cold war. But his fawning, uncritical attitude towards his Russian guest makes him just that. Lula's talk of founding a 'peace club' for Ukraine can't hide the fact that he has de facto sided with the aggressor. Putin will be pleased.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

There are reasons for the anti-Western stance

In his column in NRC political scientist Luuk van Middelaar shows some understanding for Lula:

“Brazil's bond with Moscow and Beijing is not just based on economic interests. It also reflects a desire for autonomy. Too often, we here in Western Europe forget how much Latin America's recent history between 1960 and 1980 was affected by the CIA's support for a whole slew of coups, juntas and dictators. ... Such bitter memories take the shine off Biden's discourse on democracy and are the starting point for a cool balancing of interests.”