Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil failed to hold one-on-one talks while attending a summit in Japan, even as Ukraine seeks to engage countries in the Global South on taking a harder line against Russia for its war.
“I met almost everyone, all the leaders. All of them have their own schedules, that is why we couldn’t meet with the Brazilian president,” the Ukrainian president told reporters on Sunday in Hiroshima at a briefing on the sidelines of the Group of Seven meeting.
Asked if he was disappointed, Zelenskyy replied: “I think it disappointed him.”
In a press conference Monday before leaving Japan, Lula stressed that the Ukrainian president didn’t show up at a bilateral meeting that he said had been scheduled by their teams.
“Maybe he had other commitments,” Lula said, adding that plans for a future encounter will depend on Zelenskyy’s willingness to “talk about peace.”
Both presidents took part in group sessions on Sunday, and ahead of the press event the Ukrainian leader visited a memorial commemorating those who died in a nuclear bomb explosion in 1945.
The Ukraine leader had travelled to Japan in part to meet face-to-face with leaders from the so-called Global South, which includes Lula, and rally support for his nation’s efforts to resist Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
As opposed to G7 countries, Brazil has taken a more neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, arguing at times that Zelenskyy, the United States and European countries shared blame for Putin’s invasion.
Lula later backtracked on these comments and on Monday criticised both Russia or Ukraine for not engaging in peace efforts.
Zelenskyy held meetings with several other invited guests, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, as well as with the G7 leaders.
by Alberto Nardelli & Samy Adghirni, Bloomberg