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Bolsonaro in a tight spot over Ukraine invasion

After almost two years of a deadly pandemic which has killed almost 6 million people worldwide, the planet has dived head-first into its next existential crisis. In the early hours of Thursday morning, Russian troops staged a series of attacks on key positions in neighboring Ukraine and are now closing in on the capital city Kyiv.

The invasion could, in varying degrees, affect the entire world, depending on how the situation develops.

In Brazil, while an overwhelming majority of countries have condemned Moscow’s aggression, the Bolsonaro government has remained non-committal. A statement released this morning talked of Brazil’s “great concern” about the conflict, calling for “immediate suspension of hostilities and the beginning of negotiations leading to a diplomatic solution based on the Minsk agreements.”

Why have the government and President Jair Bolsonaro remained on the fence? It might have something to do with the fact that Thursday’s invasion came just one week removed from the Brazilian head of state’s visit to Russia.

Mr. Bolsonaro met with Vladimir Putin to discuss a reform to the UN Security Council, which would involve Brazil being handed a permanent seat.

At the time, Russian troops were carrying out exercises on the Ukrainian border, before being called back to their bases around the time of Mr. Bolsonaro’s arrival. On Brazilian social media, pro-Bolsonaro accounts made the fanciful claim that the president had single-handedly stopped war in Ukraine with his presence.

Now, Mr. Bolsonaro finds himself in a delicate situation. Glad to pose alongside Vladimir Putin in Moscow, he now finds himself in the position of being a rare ally to Russia, as Mr. Putin reaches global pariah status. 

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