Russia's Lavrov travels to Brazil as Lula pushes for peace

Brasilia, Apr 17 (AP) Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived to the Brazilian capital on Monday as Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's pushes a diplomatic approach for peace in Ukraine that has irked both Kyiv and the West.
     The meeting between Lavrov and his Brazilian counterpart Mauro Vieira was set in March, when they held a bilateral at the summit of the Group of 20 leading economies in New Delhi.
     They met Monday morning and, according to the foreign ministry's website, both will meet with Lula in the afternoon.
     Lula has refused to provide weapons to Ukraine while proposing a club of nations including Brazil and China to mediate peace.
     On Sunday, he told reporters in Abu Dhabi that two nations – both Russia and Ukraine – had decided to go to war, and a day earlier in Beijing said the US must stop “stimulating” the continued fighting and start discussing peace.
     Earlier this month, he suggested Ukraine could cede Crimea to end the war, which the spokesperson for Ukraine's foreign ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, rejected.
     “Would you offer a Crimea-sized part of Brazil… just for tranquility's sake? Then we'll talk!” Belgium's former prime minister Guy Verhofstadt said on Twitter earlier this month.
     As part of his effort to end hostilities, Lula has also withheld munitions to Ukraine, even at the request of Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He has said that sending supplies would mean Brazil entering the war, which he seeks to end.
     His position has apparently been appreciated in Moscow. One of roughly 50 leaked classified documents on the platform Discord that have been viewed by the AP said that, as of late February, Russia's foreign affairs ministry supported Lula's plan to establish a club of supposedly impartial mediators, as it “would reject the West's 'aggressor-victim' paradigm.” The item cited electronic surveillance as the source.
     Earlier this month, Celso Amorim, a special advisor to Brazil's presidency and former foreign minister, took a discreet trip to Moscow, where he met with President Vladimir Putin. Vieira told reporters this month that Amorim “went to listen and to say the time has come to talk.”
     Critics have argued that Brazil's position on the Ukraine war aims to avoid confronting a key supplier of fertiliser for its soybean plantations, exports from which are largely destined for China. Both Russia and China hold permanent seats on the UN Security Council, and Brazil for decades has sought to join them.
     After his stay in Brazil, Lavrov will travel to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. (AP)

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)