Brazil won’t take sides in Russia-Ukraine conflict – president
Brazil has refused to pick sides in the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, pledging to remain neutral as the US, EU, UK, and allies continue to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia, accusing it of “unprovoked” aggression.
In a press conference on Sunday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the country would “not take sides” and would “continue being neutral” while helping with “whatever is possible.”
Calling Russia and Ukraine “practically brother nations,” Bolsonaro noted that “a big part of Ukraine’s population speaks Russian.” The president refused to weigh in with a personal opinion on the conflict until a final report is made or the situation is resolved.
Bolsonaro also rejected suggestions that Russia would carry out massive bloodshed in Ukraine, arguing, “A chief of state like that of Russia does not want to undertake a massacre, anywhere.”
Speaking about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was one of Ukraine’s most popular comedians before his foray into politics, Bolsonaro said Ukrainians had “placed the hope of their nation in the hands of a comedian.”
Brazil joins a number of countries that have so far remained neutral in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, including China, India, Pakistan, and Israel.
Bolsonaro met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this month. It was reported at the time that the United States had attempted to pressure the Brazilian leader to cancel the meeting.
“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 said at the time.
Unlike China and India, who abstained from voting for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia over Ukraine, Brazil ended up voting for the document. There have been reports in local media that Brazil sought to “soften” the wording of the resolution, but did not succeed.
Ukraine reportedly agreed on Sunday to hold ceasefire negotiations with Russia in Belarus that are set to start on Monday.