Conflicts & War

Brazil’s Lula: Zelenskyy, West share blame with Putin for war

Sao Paulo, May 4 (EFE).- Brazilian former – and possibly future – president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but said that Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US President Joe Biden, NATO and the European Union are also to blame.

“We politicians reap what we sow. If I sow fraternity, solidarity, harmony, I’ll reap good things. If I sow discord, I’ll reap quarrels. Putin shouldn’t have invaded Ukraine. But it’s not just Putin who is guilty. The US and the EU are also guilty,” Lula told Time magazine in an interview published Wednesday.

“What was the reason for the Ukraine invasion? NATO? Then the U.S. and Europe should have said: ‘Ukraine won’t join NATO.’ That would have solved the problem,” the man who governed Brazil from 2003-2010 said.

Lula, who leads right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the polls ahead of the October presidential election, said that Kyiv and its allies should have devoted more time and effort to negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t know the president of Ukraine. But his behavior is a bit weird. It seems like he’s part of the spectacle,” Lula said of Zelenskyy, who was elected after starring in a popular television series about a high school teacher elevated to the presidency.

“He is on television morning, noon, and night … as if he were waging a political campaign. He should be at the negotiating table,” the Brazilian said.

The Time journalist challenged Lula’s characterization, insisting that Zelenskyy did not want a war.

“He did want war. If he didn’t want war, he would have negotiated a little more. That’s it. I criticized Putin when I was in Mexico City (in March), saying that it was a mistake to invade. But I don’t think anyone is trying to help create peace. People are stimulating hate against Putin. That won’t solve things!,” Lula said.

The international community needs to take a different approach to the conflict, the 76-year-old former trade union leader said.

“We should be having a serious conversation (with Zelenskyy): ‘OK, you were a nice comedian. But let us not make war for you to show up on TV.’ And we should say to Putin: ‘You have a lot of weapons, but you don’t need to use them on Ukraine.’ Let’s talk!”

Lula also found fault with Joe Biden’s handling of the situation.

“I don’t think he has taken the right decision on the war between Russia and Ukraine. The US has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided (the war), not incited it. He could have talked more, participated more. Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader,” the Brazilian said.

Looking beyond the current crisis, he called for the creation of a “new global governance.”

“The UN (United Nations) isn’t taken seriously by governments today, because each one makes decisions without respecting it,” Lula said. “Putin invaded Ukraine unilaterally, without consulting the UN. The US is used to invading countries without asking anyone and without respecting the Security Council.” EFE as/dr

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