Sergey V. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, began a five-day trip to Latin America on Monday as Russia continues to push for allies in its fight with Ukraine or, at a minimum, works to keep countries from supporting Kyiv.
Mr. Lavrov started his visit in Brazil, whose president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, recently visited Moscow. Mr. Lula has walked a fine line during the war, condemning Russia’s invasion but declining to help arm Ukraine and saying that its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and NATO share some blame for the fighting.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Mr. Lavrov will also meet with his counterparts in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and other countries.
Moscow has been working to expand its influence in Latin America, including with countries that have traditionally been close to Washington. Mr. Lavrov’s trip is designed to “strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation,” according to the Russian state news agency Tass.
Mr. Putin has been able to take advantage of ties dating to the Soviet era, local resentments against the United States and the whims of particular leaders.
Here’s what else we’re watching this week:
Detained Reporter: Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was arrested in Russia and charged with espionage, will have an appeal of his detention heard in Moscow, according to the Interfax news agency, which cited the court’s press service. The U.S. State Department sees him as a political hostage and believes the charges are fabricated.
China-Russia Relations: China’s defense minister, Li Shangfu, is visiting Russia this week on a four-day trip amid ongoing concerns from Western officials about a deepening military relationship between Moscow and Beijing. President Vladimir V. Putin welcomed Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, to Russia last month, and met with Mr. Li upon his arrival on Sunday. The Chinese defense minister is also expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei K. Shoigu.
Sweden Meeting: Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III is scheduled to meet with his counterpart in Sweden, where the Pentagon said he plans to “discuss security-related topics of mutual interest.” This month, Finland’s application to join NATO was approved while Sweden’s has been blocked by alliance member Turkey. The two Nordic nations, which had pledged to enter the alliance “hand in hand,” were both given assurances of military aid from the United States and Britain in case of Russian aggression.
Ukraine Aid: Mr. Austin will then travel to Germany to lead a meeting on Friday of the Ukraine Contact Group at the Ramstein Air Base. Defense ministers and senior military officials from more than 40 nations meet regularly at the base to discuss military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Jack Nicas and Steven Erlanger contributed reporting.
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