May 26, 2022

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Brazil hits back at US barbs on Bolsonaro Russia trip

Brazil hits back at US barbs on Bolsonaro Russia trip

Brazil lashed out Saturday at US criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro’s recent trip to Russia, after Washington chided the far-right leader for visiting Vladimir Putin amid the escalating Ukraine crisis.

The Brazilian foreign ministry said it “regrets the tone” of statements Friday by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who said the visit had left Brazil looking isolated from the “vast majority of the global community.”

The United States tried to dissuade Bolsonaro from visiting Russia, which has been massing troops on Ukraine’s borders, triggering US warnings of an imminent invasion.

But the Brazilian leader pressed ahead, meeting his Russian counterpart Wednesday and voicing Brazil’s “solidarity” with Russia.

A day later, the US State Department issued a rare rebuke to Brazil, typically seen as an ally.

“The timing of the president of Brazil expressing solidarity with Russia, just as Russian forces are preparing to launch attacks on Ukrainian cities, could not be worse,” it said.

Asked about Bolsonaro’s “solidarity” comment in a White House press briefing Friday, Psaki said: “The vast majority of the global community is united in their view, a shared view that invading another country, attempting to take some of their land, terrorizing their people, is certainly not aligned with global values.

“And so, I think Brazil may be on the other side of where the majority of the global community stands,” she added.

Brazil’s foreign ministry hit back that it “regrets the tone of the White House press secretary’s statement.”

The country “does not consider such extrapolations on the president’s comments to be constructive or useful.”

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Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, sought close ties with the United States under former president Donald Trump, Bolsonaro’s political role model.

But relations have chilled since Trump lost the White House to Joe Biden, who has taken Brazil to task for surging deforestation in the Amazon rainforest under Bolsonaro.