Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva revealed on Monday that a scheduled meeting between him and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the Group of Seven summit in Japan was canceled due to Zelenskyy’s lateness, according to reports.
Lula shared his disappointment, stating, “I had a bilateral interview with Ukraine scheduled in this room at 3:15 p.m. We waited and were informed that he was late.” The Ukrainian president failed to appear, seemingly occupied with other commitments. Lula added, “I wasn’t disappointed, but rather upset, as I was looking forward to meeting him and discussing important matters. However, Zelenskyy is an adult who knows what he’s doing.”
According to AFP, the Brazilian president expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation and also remarked that Zelenskyy seemed uninterested in negotiating peace with Russia. Lula made a similar observation about Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggesting a lack of commitment to pursuing peaceful resolutions. During the G7 summit in Japan, leaders held bilateral meetings with Zelenskyy and emphasized their support for Ukraine.
Following the failed bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Lula, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the situation, suggesting that scheduling conflicts could be the reason behind the meeting not taking place. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Zelensky explained, “I met with almost all the leaders, and each of them has their own packed schedule, which is why we couldn’t manage to meet with the Brazilian president.”
When asked if he was disappointed about the missed meeting, Zelensky responded with a playful remark during a news press conference. With a smirk, he said, “I think it disappointed him,” causing laughter among the reporters present.
Non-G7 countries lend support to Zelensky
During the G7 summit, Ukrainian President Zelensky garnered significant support from the G7 leaders, including a long-awaited endorsement from the United States for access to F-16 fighter jets. This backing is seen as a crucial step in bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
In addition to rallying support from G7 nations, Zelensky actively engaged with non-G7 countries present at the meeting. Notably, he successfully courted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who pledged to do “whatever we can” to help end the war in Ukraine. Modi empathetically expressed his understanding of Ukraine’s pain during their discussions.
However, Brazil did not demonstrate similar support. Brazilian President Lula has advocated for peace negotiations and proposed Brazil’s involvement as a mediator alongside other “neutral” nations like China. Nevertheless, Lula faced criticism last month when he claimed that the United States was “encouraging” the conflict, sparking controversy.
Despite mixed responses, Zelensky’s efforts at the G7 summit have strengthened international backing for Ukraine and provided a platform for diplomatic discussions on resolving the ongoing conflict.