Out of the cold: Putin tosses the 20-foot table he used to keep Macron at bay for cozy trade talks with his pal Bolsonaro as the threat of war with Ukraine grows big
- Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s right-wing president, visited Moscow today for trade talks with Vladimir Putin.
- He was greeted with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Kremlin before meeting with the Russian president.
- The two men sat side by side, separated only by a small end table, accompanied by their assistants.
- In stark contrast to the 20-foot table used when Macron and Scholz visited Putin for talks on Ukraine.
From the hints, it’s hardly unnoticeable: after Vladimir Putin pushed European leaders to the edge of a 20-foot table for tough talks over Ukraine, Vladimir Putin today welcomed the Brazilian president for trade talks at a tiny table between them.
Jair Bolsonaro was pictured in the Kremlin next to Putin and their aides, only two feet apart, close enough that they could reach out to shake hands if they wanted to.
This contrasts sharply with the huge banquet table that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have been sitting around in Moscow in recent days.
The two men were allegedly kept away from Putin because they refused to take a Covid test. It is not clear whether Bolsonaro actually agreed to the test, as he is a well-known virus skeptic who has refused to be vaccinated.
Jair Bolsonaro sits down today for trade talks with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, with only a table separating them.
The gesture is far from being treated by Emmanuel Macron when he traveled to Moscow last week for talks on Ukraine, finding himself seated at the end of a 20-foot banquet table.
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, received a similar “long table treatment” when he visited the Kremlin this week.
Bolsonaro is in Moscow as Western leaders remain wary of a Russian attack on neighboring Ukraine.
He shrugged off pressure from Washington, a traditional ally of Brazil, and his own cabinet to cancel the trip.
He justified the visit by stating that it would be mainly focused on trade.
The Kremlin said the pair would discuss “strengthening the Russian-Brazilian strategic partnership” as well as trade, scientific and cultural ties.
They will also “exchange views on key issues on the international agenda.”
The Brazilian foreign and defense ministers will also hold talks with their Russian counterparts.
Before the South American left for Moscow, Brazil publicly confirmed its diplomatic relations with Kiev.
Bolsonaro, who rejected US pressure to cancel the visit, was greeted in Moscow with a brass band, a guard of honor and a wreath-laying ceremony in the Kremlin.
Bolsonaro inspects the wreath in the shape of the national flag of Brazil, laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, welcoming him to the Russian capital.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at a flower-laying ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden.
Bolsonaro’s greeting contrasts with Macron’s after the French president arrived at an almost deserted Moscow airport and had to walk to the terminal building.
“Foreign Minister Carlos Franca spoke by phone today with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba,” the Foreign Ministry said on Twitter ahead of the trip.
Russia made the invitation at the end of November, when tensions around Ukraine were already mounting.
Bolsonaro agreed, choosing to combine it with a visit on Thursday to his fellow far-right leader Viktor Orban in Hungary, who also recently met with Putin.
He expressed admiration for the “strong man” Putin.
The Brazilian leader, known for his controversial views on the pandemic, has not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Putin, who has been extremely careful not to contract the coronavirus, received world leaders at the now-famous stretching table in the Kremlin.
Ukrainian tanks are taking part in a live-fire exercise in the country’s west, while Russia continues to build up forces hundreds of miles to the east.
Ukrainian military with anti-tank installations participate in military exercises together with an armored personnel carrier
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at a military exercise for Ukrainian soldiers to express his support