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Montevideo, April 24th 2024 - 09:03 UTC

 

 

Zelensky willing to tell Lula about the situation in Ukraine

Monday, August 7th 2023 - 09:11 UTC
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Ukraine is ready to meet with Latin American leaders, Zelensky said Ukraine is ready to meet with Latin American leaders, Zelensky said

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Latin American media published Sunday that his Brazilian colleague Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's stance regarding the ongoing war with Russia was consistent with Moscow's narrative. “I thought he had a broader understanding of the world,” said Zelensky while insisting on inviting Lula to discuss the situation with him face to face.

Lula has said that neither Russia nor Ukraine wants peace “while people are still dying” and these statements “do not help to bring any peace,” according to Zelensky, who also pointed out that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was “no different from any colonizer,” who “constantly lies and manipulates” and “is killing our children and raping our women.” Zelensky also denounced Russia was extracting enormous natural and economic resources from occupied Ukraine.

“I don't know why [Lula's view] has to coincide with Putin's narratives,” Zelensky added from Kyiv. “I hope [Lula] has an opinion of his own. It does not seem necessary to me that his thoughts coincide with the thoughts of President Putin,” Zelensky went on.

“To be honest, if President Lula would like to tell me something, let him sit down and tell me,” Zelensky also said.

Lula has repeatedly offered to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, but Zelenski maintains that no talks are acceptable until Russia withdraws from the territories it occupied in Ukraine.

During his trip to China and the United Arab Emirates in April, Lula said the United States should stop “encouraging” the war and “start talking about peace.” The South American leader also noted that the European Union (EU) was contributing to the continuity of the war by sending arms to Ukraine.

Zelensky also underlined Sunday that Russia was collecting and exporting grain and other agricultural products from Ukrainian territories and appealed to Latin America's experience with colonialism to call for solidarity with the Ukrainian cause. “You know perfectly well what the consequences of colonialism mean,” he said. Zelensky also mentioned the destruction of the Azovstal steel mill in the occupied city of Mariupol and much of the steel industry, which has forced Ukraine to stop exporting some of the raw materials it used to sell abroad.

“Who controls the Donbas mines?” wondered Zelensky, in reference to the coal-rich region of eastern Ukraine partially occupied by Russia since 2014, where the full-scale invasion has destroyed much of the remaining economic activity. “That is colonialism,” he decried. In his opinion, “more information” is needed as an antidote to the discourses that hold Ukraine responsible for the war. He also warned of the prevalence of messages through platforms such as RT, which is banned in Europe but continues to operate in Latin America. “Russia spends millions on this activity,” he stressed while reiterating that Ukraine's war comes from “unprovoked aggression.”

“Ukraine is ready to meet with Latin American leaders, to present its principles, and to discuss them with Latin America. I mean, it's not just about weapons, we can talk about grain, wheat, nuclear safety in the world, in Ukraine, etc.,” Zelensky also said.

“And I just know that it's hard for us, but it's harder for the Russians. There is weariness in our eyes, but in their eyes there is fear, and it is different,” the Ukrainian leader went on. “Russia, unlike us, can end this war faster, without unnecessary casualties. Let them think not about ours, but about the unnecessary sacrifices of their military. It is abandoning our territory.”

Zelensky also said he invited Pope Francis to Ukraine, but “If he manages to help us with the return of the children [deported to Russia] it will be enough. If he can come to Ukraine, even better, but if we had to choose, we would choose the return of the deported children. I would have agreed on that.”

“I wish the Pope could come to Ukraine; he supports us,” Zelensky said. “I am very grateful to him.”

Zelensky invited Latin American countries to help Ukraine. “Not every state can help us with weapons, either because of legislation or because it does not have them,” said the Ukrainian leader, who cited humanitarian aid as one of the fields in which Latin American governments could be of assistance. Zelensky also expressed his interest in Latin American countries sharing with Ukraine their “experience in solving problems” such as minefield clearance, reconstruction of cities, or the fight against food insecurity.

Categories: Politics, Brazil, International.

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