Lula backs off pledge Putin won’t be arrested if he visits
Bloomberg September 11, 2023
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva backed off a pledge that Russian leader Vladimir Putin would be safe to travel to next year’s Group of 20 summit in Brazil without fear of arrest, saying that issue is up to his country’s judiciary.
“If Putin decides to go to Brazil, it will be the courts who decide whether or not he will be arrested, not me,” Lula told a news conference in New Delhi on Monday following this year’s G-20 summit.
The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest on war crimes charges in March. Russia dismissed the allegations, but Putin has made only a few international trips since, last month skipping a BRICS summit in South Africa, which like Brazil is a signatory to the ICC charter.
Lula’s comments appeared to backtrack from assurances he’d given just over a day earlier.
“I believe that Putin can easily go to Brazil,” Lula said in a video interview with Indian news platform Firstpost late Saturday. “What I can tell you is that if I am president of Brazil and he goes to Brazil, there is no way he will be arrested.”
At the news conference Monday, Lula said he would “study” the ICC issue. “I want to know why Brazil became a signatory if the U.S. didn’t,” he said, citing India and Russia as other countries that have not signed up to the court.
Brazil has not joined sanctions against Russia by the U.S. and its partners over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Lula has offered to mediate in the conflict, so far without much success.
“Let’s see what happens until November 2024, when the G-20 summit in Brazil will take place,” he said. “I hope that by then there will be no more war and that everything will return to normal. We will only know if Xi and Putin will participate when they get closer to the event.”
The Russian leader and Chinese President Xi Jinping both skipped this year’s summit in New Delhi.