Lula meets Zelenskiy: A step towards peace in Ukraine

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met on Wednesday with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy and discussed ways to achieve a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine.
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva shakes hands with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in New York City, September 20, 2023.
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva shakes hands with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in New York City, September 20, 2023. Ricardo Stuckert/Brazil Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) -Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met on Wednesday for more than an hour with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy and discussed ways to achieve a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine.

"We had a good conversation about the importance of paths to building peace," Lula posted on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, after their meeting in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Lula added that they pledged to maintain an open dialogue between their countries.

Zelenskiy said in a post on X after the meeting that he and Lula had instructed their diplomatic teams "to work on the next steps in our bilateral relations and peace efforts."

Earlier, Brazil's Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said the meeting between Lula and Zelenskiy had a "cooperative mood," and the countries would continue talks to strengthen bilateral ties.

Vieira also said that Lula showed a willingness to talk to "both sides" involved in the conflict and reaffirmed that Brazil condemns the territorial invasion of countries.

Lula has advocated the creation of a group of nations to mediate an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine, but in May he stated that both Moscow and Kyiv were to blame for the conflict, angering the United States and European states that back Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion.

Last month, Lula told reporters neither Zelenskiy nor Russian President Vladimir Putin were ready for peace.

This first get-together between Zelenskiy and Lula has been months in the making. The Ukrainian government asked for the meeting after the two men did not meet at the G7 summit in the Japanese city of Hiroshima earlier this year.

Lula also met with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter and Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Richard Chang and Jamie Freed)

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