US pressures Brazilian president not to visit Moscow


The US has been putting pressure on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to cancel his upcoming trip to Moscow in an attempt to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin on the world stage, amid escalating tensions on the border with Ukraine.

That’s according to Brazilian broadsheet Folha de São Paulo, citing sources in the foreign ministry in Brasilia who say that American diplomats have expressed concern about the timing of Bolsonaro’s trip to Moscow, supposedly fearing that it sends a message to Russia that Brazil supports the Kremlin’s stance on Eastern Europe. Pressure to cancel the trip was reportedly exerted by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday during a phone conversation with Carlos França, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Washington’s concern comes as Moscow stands accused of placing more than 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, with some alleging it is planning an attack. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the Kremlin, and it has also been played down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

While much of the Western world is developing a possible sanctions regime in an attempt at deterrence, the US believes Bolsonaro’s visit could destroy the image that Putin is isolated.

According to the newspaper, similar concern was expressed to Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez, who is due to visit Russia this week.

Washington’s attempts to convince Brazil to put a pause on Bolsonaro’s visit seems to have been in vain, however. On Monday, the president himself confirmed that he would be visiting Moscow, but also noted that he would not be bringing up the situation with Ukraine, noting that the visit is just about Russian-Brazilian relations.

On Monday, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Brazilian Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho called on Russia and Ukraine to exercise maximum restraint and to engage constructively in talks aimed at resolving their differences, and encouraged Moscow and Kiev to implement the Minsk agreements.