Brazil's Cabinet Chief Ciro Nogueira Friday made it clear his country would not remain neutral regarding the crisis after Russian troops entered Ukraine. But how clear is that?
Nogueira was quoted by GloboNews as saying that Brazil would not adopt the position of NATO, neither that of Russia nor that of China, our position is that of Brazil, that is why it is not a position of neutrality, it is a position of balance.
He also stressed there were political interests behind those who accuse President Jair Bolsonaro of dodging the issue of taking a harsher stance in light of Russia's military operation.
In Nogueira's view, Bolsonaro's rivals ”want to transform Ukraine into the 28th Brazilian state, as if it were a new pandemic (coronavirus), as if Brazil's position in the face of the crisis was the most important thing in the world.
Political analyst Cristina Fernandes (not to be mistaken for current Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández, said Nogueira's act was a screen to disguise the lack of a clear statement from President Bolsonaro. Fernandes, with an s, is a writer for Valor Economico. She claimed Bolsonaro avoids a harsh condemnation of Putin's decision because the two leaders met less than a fortnight ago in Moscow.
Until noon Friday, Bolsonaro had not addressed the question of Ukraine in public beyond announcing on Twitter that he would help evacuate the nearly 500 Brazilian nationals who are stranded in the war-torn region. Foreign Ministry Carlos Franca has discussed this issue with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, it was also reported Friday.
The diplomats reviewed what can be done to close the ongoing military operations, restore peace and prevent the civilian population from continuing to suffer the consequences of the conflict, according to Brazil's Foreign Ministry.
G1 and CNN Brasil also reported Blinken and Franca discussed aspects of the Ukrainian crisis. The United States, one of the five permanent members of the UN's Security Council, wants Brazil's support for a draft resolution condemning Russia's invasion.
Ukraine's consul in São Paulo Jorge Rybka has said Brazil [had] assumed a correct position in the UN Security Council, but we would like it to do so in a more effective way on the Russian aggressor.
Brazil's Vice President Hamilton Mourão said earlier this week western powers needed to approach Putin differently than they did with former German Führer Adolf Hitler back in 1938.
I want to make it very clear that Article 84 of the Constitution says that the person who speaks on this matter (foreign relations) is the president, and the president is called Jair Messias Bolsonaro, full stop, said the president. With all due respect to that person (Mourão) who spoke about this, and it is true that he spoke because I saw the images, that person is talking about something that he should not speak about, it is not his responsibility, that is our competence.”
Differences between Bolsonaro and Mourão have been increasing over the past few weeks on most issues. At this point it seems clear Bolsonaro will not run for reelection with Mourão on his ticket.