Inside Bolsonaro’s call with Zelensky

Zelensky Bolsonaro phone call
President Jair Bolsonaro takes a phone call at the presidential palace. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

President Jair Bolsonaro had a phone call Monday with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. 

In a tweet, Mr. Zelensky said he informed Mr. Bolsonaro about the situation on the front. “[I] discussed the importance of resuming Ukraine’s grain exports to prevent a global food crisis provoked by Russia. I call on all partners to join the sanctions against the aggressor.”

Dependent on fertilizers from Russia, Brazil has refrained from condemning Moscow for its February invasion of Ukraine. 

Following the invasion, Brazilian diplomats tried to soften the language of a UN Security Council resolution condemning the actions of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, as The Brazilian Report revealed. In April, Brazil abstained from voting for a UN General Assembly resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. 

The country has also not joined the West in sanctioning Russia. Just last week, the Bolsonaro administration said it had sealed a deal with Moscow to secure a “reliable” source of diesel in the coming months.

The Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry published a Twitter thread about the talk between Presidents Zelensky and Bolsonaro, but no official communiqué. The ministry did not publicly touch on the subject of grain exports but instead focused on humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian refugees.

“The president conveyed the solidarity of the Brazilian people and deeply regretted the human and material losses caused by the conflict. Brazil has been granting humanitarian visas to people affected by the conflict in Ukraine,” the tweet reads. 

“Brazil, which holds the presidency of the UN Security Council in July, aims, during its mandate, to promote dialogue, to contribute to the end of the conflict. Brazil will remain in a position of balance concerning the conflict,” the message continued. 

Unlike Mr. Zelensky, Brazilian diplomacy did not refer to Russia as the “aggressor.”

Last month, Mr. Bolsonaro had a phone conversation with the Russian president. The Kremlin said Mr. Putin “stressed that Russia is committed to meeting its obligations to ensure uninterrupted supplies of Russian fertilizers to Brazilian farmers.”