Brazil’s Lula calls for peace in meetings with representatives of Russia and Ukraine

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Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met representatives of Russia and Ukraine on Saturday ahead of his inauguration and called for an end to the war between the two countries.

Lula, who will be sworn in on Sunday, said on Twitter that he had met separately with the President of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matvienko, and with the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Yulia Svyrydenko.

The two were in Brazil to represent their countries at Lula’s inauguration and met with him and his future foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, according to images shared by the leftist leader.

Lula said he told Matvienko that Brazil wants “peace and for the parties to find common ground to end the conflict,” which began when Moscow sent troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24.

He said Svyrydenko brought him a report on the situation in his country.

“In Brazil we have a tradition of defending the integrity of nations and we will talk to whoever is possible for peace,” said Lula, who spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month to discuss relations between Brazil and Russia.

Lula has sought to share the message that “Brazil is back” on the world stage after four years under outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, whose lax environmental oversight and attacks on his country’s electoral system scared away many diplomats.

Lula is expected to travel to the United States, China and Argentina early in his term, while sources told Reuters German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron could visit him in Brasilia in January.

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