Bolsonaro responds to reports of US pressure to cancel Russia visit
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro offered a cryptic comment about whether Washington is pressuring him to ditch an upcoming visit to Russia, saying he’d be glad to come to the US if he ever received an invitation.
“Brazil is Brazil, Russia is Russia. I get on well with everyone. As soon as [US President] Joe Biden invites me, if he invites me, I will be pleased to visit the United States,” Bolsonaro told reporters on Thursday.
The president’s remarks follow a recent Brazilian media report suggesting US diplomats are aiming to get the Moscow meeting canceled, having voiced concerns the visit would signal support for Russia on the world stage – namely its opposition to continued NATO expansion into Ukraine and Eastern Europe at large.
Despite the reported US pressure campaign, the three-day visit is still set to go ahead, scheduled for February 14-17, according to the country’s Foreign Ministry. Bolsonaro says he has no plans to raise the Ukraine or NATO issues with officials in Moscow.
Washington, for its part, has claimed that it, as well as Brazil, have a responsibility to defend a “rules-based order” and push back against alleged “aggression” and violations of international law by Moscow.
For weeks on end, senior US officials repeatedly claimed that Russia was planning an “imminent” full-scale invasion of Ukraine, pointing to Russian troops amassed at the border with its neighbor. Those predictions have since been toned down by the Biden administration, while Russia has insisted all along that no attack is in the works.
Amid the heightened tensions over Ukraine, the Biden team has nonetheless handed a “lethal aid” package to Kiev worth hundreds of millions of dollars and stationed around 2,000 soldiers in Germany and Poland to bolster the “existing US force presence” in Europe – moves denounced as provocative by Russia.