Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declined an invitation to travel to St. Petersburg on Friday during a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
The rejection came just days after a spat between Lula and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 summit in Japan, where a planned meeting between the two fell through.
“I thanked (Putin) for the invitation to go to the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg and replied that I cannot go to Russia at this time,” Lula wrote on Twitter about the event, scheduled for June 14-17.
“But I reiterated Brazil’s willingness, along with India, Indonesia and China, to talk to both sides of the conflict in search of peace.”
Ukraine has been at war with its much larger neighbor Russia since Putin ordered the invasion in February 2022.
While many Western countries sent weapons to Ukraine to help it defend itself and imposed financial sanctions against Moscow, Lula instead tried to position himself as a mediator, creating a group of countries trying to reach a peace deal.
After their proposed meeting in Japan broke down, Lula first said he was “upset” and then said he saw no point in meeting Zelenskiy, saying neither he nor Putin seemed to want peace.
“So far they are both convinced that they will win the war,” he said.
Last year, Lula was criticized for saying that Zelenskiy was as responsible for the war as Putin.