RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A special adviser to Brazil’s presidency on international affairs met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday following comments by his Brazilian counterpart that have drawn rebukes from Kyiv, the U.S. and Europe.

Adviser Celso Amorim, who is a former foreign minister, told Brazilian newspaper O Globo after the meeting that Zelenskyy understood that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is working for peace.

Newspaper Folha de S.Paulo quoted Amorim as saying his dialogue with Ukrainian officials was positive and built confidence, and that it helped to explain Brazil’s objectives for peace.

Brazil’s foreign ministry referred questions about Amorim’s meetings from The Associated Press to the presidency, which didn’t immediately comment.

Lula has called for a ceasefire and proposed a club of nations including Brazil to mediate peace. At the same time, he has refused to provide weapons to Ukraine, made comments ascribing some blame to Ukraine for Russia’s invasion and said the U.S. and Europe are stimulating the fighting. His remarks have been criticized all those parties, as well as raised questions about Brazil’s impartiality in any eventual peace talks.

Last month, Amorim took a discreet trip to Moscow and met with President Vladimir Putin. And Lula later welcomed Putin’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to capital Brasilia, with the visiting official expressing gratitude to Brazil for its “excellent understanding of this situation’s genesis.”

Following the meeting, the spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council, John Kirby, blasted Brazil’s approach to the war and for having met Putin and Lavrov in person, while only speaking to Ukrainian officials by phone.

Critics have argued that Brazil’s position aims to avoid confronting Russia, which is a key supplier of fertilizer for its soybean plantations.

Amorim on Wednesday also met with Ukraine’s deputy foreign affairs minister Andrij Melnyk, who posted a photo of the two of them to Twitter.

Brazil can play an important role to stop Russian aggression & reach a lasting & just peace,” Melnyk wrote.

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