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US envoy urges Brazil to back Ukraine over ‘bully’ Russia

#envoy #urges #Brazil #Ukraine #bully #Russia

A senior US envoy called Tuesday in Brazil for robust support for Ukraine against “bully” Russia, renewing concern over remarks by Brazil’s leader who partly blamed the West for the war.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, met Brazil’s foreign minister and the wife of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva although not the leftist leader himself.

Speaking to international relations students at the University of Brasilia, the US envoy said that Ukraine’s struggle was about defending democracy.

“They are fighting against a bully that thought it was OK to invade a country, take their territory and kill their people and rape their women,” she said.

“What’s the next country — what other bully will think that they can do the same thing? 

“We can’t let Russia win in Ukraine, because Ukraine is fighting for the rights of people all over the world,” she said.

Lula, who returned to power in January, on a visit last month to China said that the United States, which has sent billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine, was “encouraging the war.”

His remarks triggered condemnation from the White House, which had earlier cast Lula as a natural ally on democracy, climate change and other issues of importance to President Joe Biden.

Thomas-Greenfield said she discussed Ukraine with Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira and “expressed, as the government has heard before, our disappointment in the statements that were made.”

But she noted that Brazil has voted at the United Nations to condemn Russia’s invasion of Russia, an implicit contrast with other developing world powers that have stayed neutral, notably India and South Africa.

“We encourage countries to engage on issues related to finding a solution to the war, but it is important that as they do that they have to engage with Ukraine,” she told reporters at the foreign ministry.

She voiced support for Lula’s plan to send a close envoy, Celso Amorim, to Ukraine. Brazil has not joined sanctions on Russia, whose foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, recently visited Brasilia and voiced gratitude for Lula’s remarks.

Lula, a former trade unionist who sought to chart out a more independent foreign policy when he was last in power, from 2003 to 2010, has clarified that he condemns Russia’s invasion, while calling for talks to end the conflict.

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