Bolsonaro confirms trip to Russia amid escalating tensions

russia Jair Bolsonaro prior to meeting with Peru's Pedro Castillo. Photo: Alan Santos/PR
Jair Bolsonaro prior to meeting with Peru’s Pedro Castillo. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Before meeting with his Peruvian counterpart Pedro Castillo this morning, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro reaffirmed his intention to visit Russia in two weeks. 

The visit has rubbed Western powers —especially the U.S. — up the wrong way, considering the escalation of hostilities with Moscow in recent days. Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the U.S. for deploying additional troops to Eastern Europe, saying the move was intended to “stir up tensions.”

In a recent meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos França, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. wants Brazil to step up and put pressure on Russia against taking military action in Ukraine. Mr. Bolsonaro, however, has belittled concerns. “Brazil is Brazil. Russia is Russia,” he said. “I try to have good relations with everybody. If Joe Biden invites me, I’ll be delighted to go to the U.S.”

The Biden White House has to find a difficult balance in dealing with Mr. Bolsonaro. On one side, the U.S. doesn’t want to alienate Brazil in the UN Security Council, but the far-right Brazilian politician is considered to be an environmental bogeyman by Congress Democrats.

On his trip, Mr. Bolsonaro could also meet with Hungary’s far-right leader Viktor Orban — although a stop in Budapest has not yet been confirmed.