Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenski was told to change his plans after seeking to make a virtual appearance during Thursday's Mercosur Summit in Asunción.
According to press reports, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay were at first hesitant but Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who shall not be attending the meeting in person, sent a blunt no way! to the group.
Kyiv's embassy in Buenos Aires, which has concurrent jurisdiction in Paraguay and Uruguay, had been brokering Zelenski's participation for weeks, it was also reported.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Zelenski has participated in different high-ranking gatherings worldwide involving the United Nations, the European Union, and other blocs or associations.
Mercosur's refusal sends a message, which some analysts link to the UE's delay in ratifying the Free Trade Agreement with Mercosur. Josep Borrell, the European Union's top diplomat, had said it was “a more complicated issue.” Ukraine has applied for UE membership.
Bolsonaro is also on good terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazil needs Russian fertilizers for its agrifood industries as well as other inputs, including fuels.
Paraguay's Deputy Minister of Economic Relations and Integration Raúl Cano Ricciardi announced the bloc's decision approved unanimously, ahead of Thursday's meeting which is expected to focus on Uruguay's decision to move on unilaterally with negotiations towards an FTA with China, despite Article 32 of Mercosur's founding Treaty of Asunción forbidding such undertakings.