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Some Latin American countries call for Russian withdrawal of Ukraine

Colombia, Argentina and Chile condemned the invasion and Brazil will support a U.N. resolution condemning Russia, while Cuba didn't mention the invasion and blamed the U.S.
Image: People protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside the Russian embassy in Santiago, Chile, on Feb. 24, 2022.
People protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside the Russian embassy in Santiago, Chile, on Feb. 24, 2022.Esteban Felix / AP
/ Source: Reuters

Colombia, Argentina and Chile on Thursday called for swift withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, as other Latin American countries rejected the use of force but stopped short of calling for a Russian exit.

Russia invaded Ukraine by land, sea and air in the early morning, in the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attack is an effort to ‘denazify’ Ukraine.

“We categorically reject war and we join all the voices of the international community who today clamor for the speedy withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory,” Colombia’s centre-right President Iván Duque said in a video statement.

“This premeditated and unjustified aggression is a threat to world peace,” he said. Vice-President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez branded the invasion “absurd colonialist nostalgia” on Twitter.

Argentina’s foreign ministry in a statement called on Russia to cease military actions in Ukraine, while Chile said it would support sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council.

“Our country calls for Russia to withdraw its troops and especially for it to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” Chile’s Foreign Minister Carolina Valdivia said.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguin also condemned Russia, saying it had violated international law, and called for an end to fighting.

Brazil will support a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Friday, two sources close to the talks told Reuters.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who recently met with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, scolded his Vice President Hamilton Mourao on Thursday for condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said it was not Mourao’s job to speak about the crisis in eastern Europe.

“We will support the Security Council resolution and we will condemn the invasion,” said one of the sources, who requested anonymity.

“Russia broke the U.N. rules by invading another country. That fact cannot go without a condemnation,” the official said.

Brazil’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday expressed concern about Russia’s military operations and urged a diplomatic solution, but did not condemn the invasion.

At the Kremlin alongside Putin just days before the invasion, Bolsonaro said he was “in solidarity with Russia,” without elaborating. He later told reporters Putin had peaceful intentions.

The U.S. State Department deplored Bolsonaro’s comments and said they undermined diplomatic efforts to avert a disaster as well as Brazil’s own calls for a peaceful resolution.

Ukraine on Thursday demanded an expression of solidarity from Brazil and condemnation of Russia’s “aggression” against its territory.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez has also recently visited Moscow, prompting some analysts to suggest Russia has courted Latin America amid the Ukraine tensions.

Some Latin American countries were less pointed in their criticism.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for dialogue, while Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard later took a tougher stance, condemning the invasion and demanding Russia end its military operations in Ukraine.

Peru’s foreign ministry expressed concern and appealed for an end to hostilities, and Paraguay’s foreign minister urged dialogue and a ceasefire.

Russia’s strongest allies in the region — Cuba and Venezuela — had yet to directly address the invasion early on Thursday morning.

Venezuela’s foreign minister Felix Plasencia on Wednesday backed Putin’s fight against what he said was North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) desire for war.

Cuba on Wednesday criticized the United States for imposing “the progressive expansion of NATO towards the borders of the Russian Federation” and called for a diplomatic solution.

In a statement late on Tuesday, Cuba’s foreign ministry had said the United States, Havana’s long-time rival, had ramped up threats against Putin, aggravating the crisis. The Cuban statement did not specifically mention Russian advances into the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.

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