Brazil’s Lula Advises von der Leyen to Try Diplomacy
EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen was in Latin America last week, in an attempt to lure leaders of the region away from China and Russia and closer to Brussels, with the promise of a trade agreement, provided strict obligations are agreed to. She began her trip in Brazil, where the issue of the war “in the heart of Europe” was raised by President Lula da Silva at their joint press conference. Implicitly denouncing the EU’s policy approach, he stated that “There is no military solution to this conflict. We need more diplomacy in response to invasions of Ukraine, Palestine, or Yemen.”
In that vein, Lula continues to organize for a “Peace Club” of world leaders to help work out a negotiated settlement between Russia and Ukraine (cf. SAS 21/23). He is to meet with Pope Francis in Rome on June 21 to discuss the proposal and coordinate with the Vatican’s own efforts.
In response, there is tremendous pressure from Washington and NATO quarters to get the Brazilian President to condemn Russia. One aspect of that is undoubtedly the nomination of a new Ukrainian ambassador to Brazil, namely Deputy Foreign Minister Andrij Melnyk. Melnyk was forced out as ambassador to Germany in July, 2022 after defending nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera as a “freedom fighter”, and denying that he had murdered thousands of Jews, Russians and Poles during World War II. It is feared that the new ambassador will establish contact with neo-nazi groups and other extremists in Brazil.