Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Sunday that South America’s biggest country will remain “neutral” over Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
The far-right Bolsonaro, who undertook a controversial visit to Moscow on February 16 to meet with President Vladimir Putin just as Russian leaders were finalizing plans for their full-scale invasion, said his Russian counterpart confided some “secret” issues about Ukraine in their lengthy conversation.
Bolsonaro said he told Putin that Brazil will maintain a position of neutrality in the war, and that it remains “in favor of peace.”
“We are not going to take sides,” Bolsonaro told reporters. “We are going to continue our neutrality and help as much as possible in the search for a solution.”
Brazilians “want peace, but we cannot bring (the war’s) consequences here,” he added, recalling that Brazil is a major purchaser of Russian fertilizers.
Bolsonaro, who has expressed admiration for Putin, has largely avoided criticizing Russia over its aggression, even as Putin’s Ukraine operation has been broadly lambasted by the West.
Last Thursday he upbraided his own vice president, Hamilton Mourao, for saying Brazil did not agree with the invasion of Ukraine.
Bolsonaro on Sunday said Brazil actively worked to help water down a United Nations Security Council resolution that criticized Russia, referring to the change of the word “condemns” to “deplores” in the final version of the measure.
Brazil voted in favor of that resolution, which was vetoed by Russia. But Brazil did not sign a declaration by member countries of the Organization of American States in which they strongly condemned Russia’s invasion.
Bolsonaro’s trip to Moscow earned a firm rebuke by the White House, which described Brazil as being “on the other side of where the global community stands.”