Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro finally made an explicit statement about his country’s stance regarding the Ukraine crisis following Russia’s invasion: The country shall remain “neutral.”
The head of state came open about this controversial issue during a press conference from Forte dos Andradas in Guarujá, on São Paulo’s Atlantic Ocean shore, where he is spending the Carnival holidays.
Bolsonaro explained Brazil would remain neutral so as not to bring on “the consequences of the conflict to the country.
When asked about the siege that the Russian army is carrying out in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Bolsonaro said that it is an exaggeration to speak of a massacre.
Bolsonaro baffled reporters after saying he had had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which the latter did mention Ukraine. Bolsonaro then declined to go into any further details regarding the issue.
At first, it was unclear whether he was referring to an actual talk over the telephone Sunday. But later he explained he meant the conversations they had during his recent trip to Moscow Feb. 16.
The whole world is connected and what happens 10,000 km away influences Brazil, Bolsonaro went on. We have to be very responsible, because we have businesses, especially with Russia. Brazil depends on fertilizers, he stressed.
He also spoke about Brazil's vote on the UN resolution. There is no sanction or condemnation for President Putin, he assured. Brazil's vote is not defined and is not tied to any power. Our vote is free and will be given in that direction [...]. Our position with [Foreign] Minister Carlos França is one of balance. And we cannot interfere. We want peace, but we cannot bring consequences here, Bolsonaro underlined.
When asked if he would continue with his speech of neutrality even after the advance of Russian troops through Ukrainian cities and possible civilian deaths, the president replied that a large part of the population of Ukraine speaks Russian.
They are practically sister countries. A massacre of civilians has not been heard of for a long time. It is not the tactic of any world leader to do that, he added.
Regarding Kyiv’s siege by Russian troops, Bolsonaro said it was an “exaggeration to speak of a massacre.”
I understand that there is no interest on the part of the Russian leader to carry out a massacre. He is working in two regions of southern Ukraine that, in a referendum, more than 90% of the population wanted to become independent, approaching Russia,” the President elaborated.
“My decision could bring serious damage to Brazil, he said. He also stressed the people of Ukraine had elected “a comedian to chart the nation's destiny.”
“I will wait for the UN report” to issue my opinion, he concluded.
Bolsonaro, a retired Army captain, also pointed out an all-out war in the era of nuclear weapons “would be suicide.”
“We are not going to take sides; we are going to continue with neutrality and help in whatever way possible in search of a solution,” he insisted.
Bolsonaro is due back in Brasilia next Friday.