Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is intensifying a campaign to mediate an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine as he seeks to reinsert Brazil in the global political stage.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin was quoted by Russia’s Tass news agency Thursday as saying Moscow is studying Lula’s proposal to end the conflict as it continues to assess the situation in Ukraine.
The idea being floated by the Brazilian president is to create of a group of countries, possibly including India, China and Indonesia, to mediate peace talks between the nations as war fatigue starts to grip parts of the world.
Brazil is hardly the only country pushing peace proposals as the conflict approaches its first anniversary on Friday. China, Turkey and numerous others have also sought to mediate negotiations in recent weeks and months.
Lula’s efforts to position Brazil and himself as pragmatic middlemen in the conflict, meanwhile, may still be hurt by comments he made last year, when he told Time Magazine that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the United States and the European Union all shared blame for the Russian invasion. A top Ukrainian official slammed the comments as a “Russian attempt to distort the truth” in response.
No formal proposal has been sent to Russia, according to two Brazilian government officials who requested anonymity to discuss details of the diplomatic offensive. But Moscow is discussing the idea based on Lula’s public comments on the conflict, and both officials considered Thursday’s statement from Russia as a signal of goodwill toward Lula.
Brazilian diplomats in recent days have ramped up efforts to pitch their international counterparts on the plan, and held talks with at least 21 countries about the idea during last week’s Munich Security Conference in Germany.
“The chancellors discussed the current situation of the war, the Brazilian position on the conflict and Brazil’s contribution to the resolution to be voted on at the United Nation General Assembly, which calls for the cessation of hostilities for the first time,” Mauro Vieira, Brazil’s foreign affairs minister, said on Twitter amid the meetings in Munich.
Lula, in line with Brazil’s traditional foreign policy, has sought to portray himself as a mediator of conflicts in a multipolar world, rather than an automatic ally of the U.S. and E.U. Since taking office in January, the Brazilian has discussed the conflict with major world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Biden hinted, albeit vaguely, that he could be open to the proposal during a bilateral meeting in Washington earlier this month.
In recent talks with Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, Brazil’s government has suggested that Kyiv accept a formal request to cease hostilities as part of a resolution that will receive a vote in the U.N. General Assembly this week.