BRASÍLIA: Brazil rejected US criticism that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda on the Ukraine war as he held talks with Moscow's top diplomat on Monday, reports AFP.
Lula's meeting with Sergei Lavrov in Brasilia follows state visits to China and the Middle East, during which he said the United States should "stop encouraging war and start talking about peace" in Ukraine.
Lula's remarks echoed a line frequently used by Moscow and its strategic ally Beijing, which blame the West for the war.
China seeks to position itself as neutral on the Ukraine war, but has maintained its partnership with Moscow and refrained from imposing sanctions.
In the Brazilian capital, Lavrov thanked Lula for his discussions last week on seeking to help mediate peace talks.
But Lula's recent remarks on Ukraine sparked criticism from the White House, which has spearheaded international efforts to isolate Moscow and bolster Kyiv.
"In this case, Brazil is parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda without at all looking at the facts," US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, who had also met with his Russian counterpart, shot back, saying: "I don't know how or why he reached that conclusion but I do not agree at all."
Despite Lula's comments about the United States, the 77-year-old, who returned to power in January after serving two terms from 2003 to 2010, is also seeking closer ties with Washington.
His visits to China and the United Arab Emirates came after meeting in February with US President Joe Biden.
G7 foreign ministers warned Tuesday that any nation helping Russia's war effort would face "severe costs".
Meeting in Japan, the top diplomats from the world's leading economies pledged to crack down on those helping Russia evade sanctions and acquire weapons.
Brazil has not joined Western nations in imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion, and has refused requests to supply ammunition to Ukraine.
"We are grateful to our Brazilian friends for their clear understanding of the genesis of the situation (in Ukraine). We are grateful for their desire to contribute to finding ways of settling this situation," Lavrov said after meeting with his Brazilian counterpart.
"We are interested in resolving the conflict as soon as possible," he added.
But he said that any solution would have to be based on "multipolarity," accusing the West of "trying to dominate the international arena."
Washington does not have "any objection to any country that wants to try to bring an end to the war," Kirby said.
"That could happen right now, today, if Mr (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would stop attacking Ukraine and pull its troops out."
Brazil is Lavrov's first stop on a weeklong Latin American tour that will also include Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba -- countries with leftist governments hostile towards the United States.
Lavrov and Brazil's Vieira said their talks had also focused on energy and trade.
About a quarter of agricultural powerhouse Brazil's fertilizer imports come from Russia, while the two countries engaged in a record $9.8 billion in bilateral trade last year.