Due to ongoing violence in Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko will not make the trip to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina.
“The president believes it is impossible to attend the World Cup final match due to the situation in the country,” reads an official statement.
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff invited Poroshenko along with other world leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in attendance along with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rousseff and FIFA President Sepp Blatter will handover the World Cup to Putin in a ceremony since Russia hosts the tournament in 2018.
There was speculation Poroshenko and Putin could meet in Brazil. The Kremlin said there were no plans, but kept the option open. The tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been very intense since February when parliament ousted Russia-backed President Viktor Yanukovych and developed closer ties to the West. The two leaders previously met in Normandy, France at the 70th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings.
Over 30 people died on Friday and Saturday in east Ukraine, including 19 soldiers. At least one person was killed and six injured after a shell hit an apartment building in the Donetsk suburb Maryinka. No one knows exactly who is responsible for the incident and Kiev and the pro-Russian forces blame each other.
“It’s good he (Poroshenko) didn’t go to Brazil,” Lesya Orobets, an independent lawmaker, said. “There is neither Olympic Games, no Mondiale for Ukrainian politicians this year.”