Bloomberg — Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro said he backed an even-handed approach to the crisis over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, breaking from condemnation voiced by global leaders and his own country’s diplomats in the United Nations.
“We are not going to take sides,” Bolsonaro told reporters Sunday during a press conference in Sao Paulo state. “We are going to continue to be neutral and help however possible to find a solution.”
The conflict in Ukraine is leading to higher costs of goods from fertilizer to oil, and peace is the best option to avoid price spikes, Bolsonaro said. Brazil’s position must be one of “caution” and “balance,” the president said, adding he doesn’t want to bring negative consequences to his country.
Bolsonaro met Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month with aims of facilitating trade. The Brazilian president’s actions come as costlier food and fuels propel annual inflation above 10%, weighing on both economic growth and his popularity. Bolsonaro is up for re-election this October, and polls show him losing to arch-rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Last week, Brazil voted in favor of a draft U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s invasion.