Lula's Ukraine comments are 'Russian attempts to distort truth,' Ukrainian official says

Brazil's former President Lula takes part in celebrating Workers Day, in Sao Paulo
Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will run in October's elections, gestures as he takes part in an event organized by labor unions during Workers Day in Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2022. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

May 5 (Reuters) - Ukraine's senior presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, on Thursday blasted comments by former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that Ukraine shouldered equal blame for Moscow's invasion, describing them as "Russian attempts to distort the truth."

Lula, the leftist front-runner in polls ahead of Brazil's October election, said in an interview with Time magazine published on Wednesday that Russia never should have invaded Ukraine. But he said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is as much to blame for the war as Russian leader Vladimir Putin. read more

Lula, who was on the cover of the weekly magazine, also said U.S. President Joe Biden could have done more to prevent the conflict and accused Biden of "inciting" it.

"Brazilian ex-president Lula da Silva talks about the guilt of Ukraine or the West in the war. These are Russian attempts to distort the truth. It's simple: Russia treacherously attacked Ukraine... Classic war of destruction & occupation," Podolyak wrote in a tweet, without giving further details.

Lula's comments indicate that neither of the main two contenders in Brazil's October presidential election are likely to put much pressure on Putin and Russia, which calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" to disarm the country.

Current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is an admirer of the Russian president and flew to meet him in Moscow before the invasion, ignoring U.S. entreaties not to go.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter in Rio de Janeiro Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Matthew Lewis

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