“On the Side of Diplomacy”

Brazil rejects Berlin's call for arms deliveries to Ukraine and aims to mediate in the Ukraine war – together with other countries of the Global South.

BRASÍLIA/BERLIN (Own report) – In open defiance of Germany and the other Western powers, Brazil rejects all arms deliveries to Ukraine and pushes, instead, for a mediation initiative to end the Ukraine war. Brazil sees itself as a “land of peace” and rejects any involvement in this war, was President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s response Monday to Berlin's demand during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit, that ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft tank be provided to Kiev. Rather than constantly fueling the war with ever more weapons, a mediation initiative must be launched, with the possible contribution from China, in particular, but also from India and Indonesia, according to Lula. Scholz does not support such an initiative from the Global South to end the fighting and raised his objections on Monday. However, more and more governments, particularly in the Global South, such as, most recently Columbia and Egypt, but also Israel are promoting a negotiated solution. Thus, a counterpoint is becoming apparent to the West's efforts to continue to assert its global dominance in and with the Ukraine war.

No Partisanship

Already last year, Latin America governments, to a large extent, had kept themselves out of the Ukraine war and the West's economic war against Russia. At the March 2 UN General Assembly vote, most of them, including the three countries German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited form Saturday to Monday (Argentina, Brazil, Chile), had condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[1] However, they had rejected any further partisanship in the conflict. MERCOSUR, for example, refused to provide Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky a public stage at its July 21 summit in Asunción. In Chile, the ultra-right Partido Republicano had already been unsuccessful in its attempt to permit Zelensky to address the Chilean parliament.[2] In July, Zelenskyi reported that he had spoken to Jair Messias Bolsonaro, Brazil's President at the time, who had confirmed Brazil's continued position of neutrality in the conflict.[3] This proves that the refusal to take Ukraine's side clearly demonstrates Brazil’s state interests and does not depend on one's political affiliation.

No War Involvement

The West's demand to participate in supplying ammunition and arms to Ukraine, so far, has met with stiff resistance in Latin America. Already in April last year, plans were reported to provide the Ukrainian armed forces with ammunition for Gepard anti-aircraft tanks available in Brazil.[4] In 2013, Brazil had purchased a total of 34 Gepard tanks to protect major events such as the 2014 World Cup against aerial attacks, particularly drone attacks. Since 2016, the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann arms company has been operating a service facility in that country, where it provides the necessary repairs for Brazil’s Gepard, as well as its Leopard 1 tanks. Already, then, there was no delivery of ammunition to Ukraine.[5] This has since not changed. As the daily Folha de São Paulo reported, the decision not to comply with the latest German government’s request for ammunition deliveries was made on January 20, at a meeting of government politicians and military officials.[6] “Brazil is a land of peace. And that's why Brazil doesn't want any involvement in this war – not even indirectly,” President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared on Monday.[7]

No Weapons

Lula’s reaffirmation that he would not deliver arms and munition to Ukraine is not only a setback for Berlin, but for Washington as well. The US government is currently applying massive pressure on several Latin American countries to send Soviet or Russian-produced weapons from their stocks to Ukraine. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8]) Prior to Brazil, several other states on the subcontinent have publicly rejected the request. Last week, for example, Columbia’s President Gustavo Petro announced, “no Russian weapon bought by Colombia will be used in the armed conflict in Ukraine,”[9] Petro added that rather than sending weapons, Latin America should seek peace. During a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández declared Saturday, “Argentina and Latin America are not thinking of sending weapons to Ukraine.”[10] Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, for his part, openly criticized the German government’s decision to send battle tanks to Kiev – a clear confirmation that, in spite of all the pressure from the United States, no delivery of weapons and only support for mediation attempts can be expected from Mexico.[11]

“Discuss Peace”

Monday, in the course of Chancellor Scholz’ visit, Brazil’s President Lula went a step further and openly advocated finally launching a mediation initiative to put an end to the war in Ukraine. “A group of countries must be quickly brought to the negotiating table,” to discuss “peace between Russia and Ukraine,” declared Lula. Brazil, he said, is readily “prepared to make a contribution.”[12] Other contributions to mediation could be provided by India or Indonesia, even China could “make a major contribution.” “For once, the Chinese should also help reach peace between Russia and Ukraine,” said Lula. He will “discuss that with President Xi,” when he “visits the People’s Republic in March.” He has already spoken to Scholz and France’s President Emmanuel Macron – and next week he will be doing the same with US President Joe Biden. The Brazilian president is, thus, openly defying the Western powers, including Germany, which – far from seriously negotiating with Moscow and Kiev – are continuously refueling the war in Ukraine with new weapons deliveries.

A Counterpoint

Governments of the Global South have long been calling, and with growing intensity, for a negotiated settlement. In September, for example, India’s Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar reconfirmed that his country is “on the side” that calls for “dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out.”[13] Turkey had been negotiating since some time and, at times – as can be noted in the agreement over the Black Sea grain deliveries – with clear success. Tuesday, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Asmeh Shoukry confirmed that his country, as well, will “continue its efforts in seeking diplomatic solutions” to the war.[14] Yesterday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that in principle, he would be prepared to mediate between the two warring parties.[15] Thus a counterpoint is becoming apparent, particularly in the Global South, to the West’s – explicitly German – attempt to inflict a clear battlefield defeat on Russia and to subordinate all efforts for peace to this objective. A Russian battlefield defeat would, from the West’s perspective, represent a significant step toward the defense of its out-dated global domination.


[1] See also The World Order and Its Profiteers and „Ein Ausdruck des Neokolonialismus”.

[2] See also Die Lateinamerika-Offensive der EU.

[3] Zelensky tells Brazil’s Bolsonaro: „You can’t be somewhere in the middle” on Russia-Ukraine war. edition.cnn.com 20.07.2022.

[4] Lars Petersen: Munitionsproblem gelöst? Brasilien will deutsche Gepard-Panzer für Ukraine mit 300.000 Schuss ausstatten. businessinsider.de 27.04.2022.

[5] Mario Schenk, Anne Hellmund: Deutscher Rüstungskonzern verhandelt mit Brasilien über Gepard-Munition für Ukraine. amerika21.de 04.05.2022.

[6] Alexander Schmitt: Zoff vor Scholz-Besuch: Brasilien lehnt Lieferung von Panzermunition an die Ukraine ab. rnd.de 28.01.2023.

[7] Lula verweigert Scholz Panzer-Munition für die Ukraine. faz.net 31.01.2023.

[8] See also The World Order and Its Profiteers.

[9] Colombia Refuses To Donate Russian Weaponry To Ukraine. telesurenglish.net 25.01.2023.

[10] Pressekonferenz von Bundeskanzler Scholz und dem argentinischen Präsidenten Alberto Ángel Fernández am 28. Januar 2023 in Buenos Aires.

[11] Erich Saumeth: Colombia, Brasil, México y Argentina rechazan el pedido de EEUU de transferir armamento a Ucrania. infodefensa.com 30.01.2023.

[12] Pressekonferenz von Bundeskanzler Scholz und dem brasilianischen Präsidenten Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva am 30. Januar 2023 in Brasília.

[13] Russia’s Allies China and India call for negotiations to end Ukraine war. theguardian.com 24.09.2022.

[14] Lavrov praises Egypt’s ‘balanced stance‘ after FM Shoukry delivers Blinken message on Ukraine crisis. english.ahram.org.eg 31.01.2023.

[15] Israeli premier says willing to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, if asked. arabnews.com 01.02.2023.