UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Brazil’s foreign minister said Tuesday the country wants to buy as much diesel fuel as it can from Russia following a deal with Moscow.
Carlos França called Russia “a strategic partner” and said Brazil is in short supply of diesel.
“Of course, we have to make sure that we have enough diesel for the Brazilian agribusiness and, of course, for Brazilian drivers,” he said. “So that’s why we were looking … for very reliable suppliers of diesel and Russia is one of them.”
The minister was responding to a question about President Jair Bolsonaro’s comments on Monday in Brasilia that Brazil has “a deal” and Russian diesel “can start getting here within 60 days.” Earlier, the president told supporters that Brazil was about to get “cheaper” diesel from Russia.
“Russia continues to trade with all of the world,” Bolsonaro said.
França noted Brazil and Russia are partners in the BRICs group of major emerging economies that also includes India, China and South Africa.
In addition to diesel, the foreign minister said, “we rely heavily on fertilizer exports from Russia and from Belarus as well.”
Russia is also “a great provider of oil and gas,” he said, adding: “You can ask Germany about that, and ask Europe about that.”
Russia accounts for 40% of Europe’s imports of refined product and 55% of those products are diesel and gasoil, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Asked how much diesel Brazil would buy from Russia, the foreign minister said, “As much as we can.".
França, who chaired a U.N. Security Council meeting earlier Tuesday on strategic communication in U.N. peacekeeping missions, was asked whether Brazil is getting any pushback from Western countries that have imposed sanctions over Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
He replied, “Oh, no."
França also noted a Canadian government statement Sunday that it will allow delivery of refurbished equipment used in a key Russia-Europe natural gas pipeline that has undergone maintenance.
Russia’s Gazprom cited the absence of the equipment last month as a reason for more than halving the flow of gas in mid-June. Siemens Energy said that allowing the gas turbine to be sent to Germany was a first step toward returning it to the pipeline that it operates.
“I think we're in the same page," França said.
Pressed again about having dealings with Russia, he said that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz should be asked first about Germany still buying Russian gas. Then, he said, “I answer.”
Associated Press writer Mauricio Savarese in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.