Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has extended an open invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend next year’s G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro without the fear of arrest.
Lula’s statement came during this year’s G20 meeting in Delhi, where he assumed leadership of the forum.
Lula, who has positioned himself as a mediator between Moscow and Kyiv, assured that there would be no grounds for Putin’s arrest should he visit Brazil for the November 2024 event. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest in March 2023, alleging war crimes in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Brazil is legally bound to cooperate with ICC investigations and activities, potentially including the arrest of individuals targeted by the court. However, Putin opted not to attend last month’s BRICS summit in South Africa, a decision widely attributed to concerns related to the ICC.
Despite Brazil’s commitment to the ICC charter, Lula indicated that Putin would be warmly received at the Rio summit, emphasizing that the event would exude an “atmosphere of peace.” When questioned about Brazil’s ICC obligations, Lula confidently asserted that Putin would not face arrest.
Lula’s stance of not taking sides in the Ukraine conflict has drawn criticism from Western leaders, who accuse him of echoing Russian and Chinese propaganda uncritically. Ukrainian officials have extended an invitation to Lula to visit their country and witness the impact of “Russian aggression” firsthand.
Lula defends his policy of neutrality, contending that genuine peace can only be achieved if some countries maintain impartiality. He acknowledges the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the US invasion of Iraq, both without international consent. Lula emphasizes Brazil’s unequivocal opposition to the invasion of any country, highlighting his commitment to peace.
While Lula’s stance has garnered both support and criticism, some have labelled it as “sad, unacceptable, and shameful.” Notably, the Colombian writer Héctor Abad Faciolince, who witnessed the fatal injury of Ukrainian novelist Victoria Amelina during a Russian missile attack in July, expressed disappointment with Lula’s position. Despite this, Lula remains resolute in his belief that neutrality is essential in fostering global peace and stability.
The upcoming G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro serves as a significant platform where diplomatic tensions, global cooperation, and leadership in times of crisis will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping international relations.