“Brazil as a country is more and more in line with the Chinese narrative,” Rudolf said.
In recent weeks, Lula has suggested that China should be part of a global effort to bring about peace talks, arguing that countries not directly involved in the conflict are better positioned to mediate the negotiations. The two countries are already part of BRICS, a trade bloc which also includes Russia, India and South Africa.
Lula introduced the idea of a peace group, and recently told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he would discuss the idea with Xi, making Lula the latest in a string of leaders offering a vision for possible negotiations.
Lula has condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but he has also suggested in the past that Zelensky and NATO shared some blame for the war. He has refused to sell weapons to Ukraine in an effort to maintain neutrality.
There have been no known peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv in the past 12 months, and each side insists the other has no interest in a ceasefire.
Brazil’s position is complicated by its reliance on Russia for about a quarter of its fertiliser imports, which are crucial to the South American nation’s enormous agriculture industry. Brazil is Russia’s largest buyer of fertiliser, purchasing roughly $US1.9 billion ($2.8 billion) in chemicals from Russia in 2019.
Fertiliser is big business for Russia, but is still dwarfed by its oil and gas exports.
Lula’s visit to China is part of an effort to repair relations that had suffered under Brazil’s previous president, Jair Bolsonaro. Xi gave Lula a red-carpet welcome to Beijing complete with military pageantry on Friday.