Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Saturday made a plea for an end to the conflict in Ukraine for the sake of global harmony during a visit to Portugal.
"I am absolutely certain that we will find a far better outcome for the world if we manage to find a way to make peace," Lula said in a joint news briefing alongside Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
"This war shouldn't have started, Russia shouldn't have invaded but it did. The fact is that it happened. So instead of choosing sides I want to choose a third way, the construction of peace," Lula added.
Lula annoyed leaders in the EU and the United States last weekend by stating that Ukraine and Russia had both chosen to go to war and that Western military aid was fueling the conflict.
The Brazilian leader has also angered Ukraine by saying Kyiv shares the blame for the war.
Brazil has not joined Western nations in imposing sanctions on Moscow or supplying ammunition to Kyiv. Ukrainians living in Portugal demonstrated their anger at Lula and his visit by holding a protest near the Brazillian embassy to Portugal in Lisbon on Saturday.
Sousa received Lula and Brazilian first lady Rosangela da Silva in an official ceremony at the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon earlier on Saturday. Afterwards, the two leaders held a private meeting at the Presidential palace.
The Brazilian leader's visit comes as he looks to strengthen ties with his country's natural partner in the European Union. The veteran left-winger is seeking to revive his country's diplomatic ties after four years of relative isolation under his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.
The trip is Lula's first to a European country since he defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and won a third non-consecutive term in October.
While in Portugal, the left-wing leader aims to secure about a dozen agreements on trade and migration.
Lula has proposed that a group of nations including Brazil and China mediate a peaceful resolution to the war.