Brazil Sides with Russia

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Brazil has denied the extradition to the United States of a man accused of being a Russian spy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Russian agent, Sergey Cherkasov, has been under deep cover for years before finally being exposed. Passing as a Brazilian under the alias Victor Ferreira, Cherkasov was secretly a GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) agent. While under alias, he studied at John Hopkins University before seeking a job at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.

He was exposed in June 2022 when he sought the job with the ICC, returning to Brazil instead. The ICC has been an important actor in the fight between Russia and Ukraine. It issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, the first time a major world leader has been in its crosshairs. The warrant itself has complicated Russian diplomacy, especially in Africa. Having a spy in the organization would have been a huge coup for Russia.

The United States charged the spy with visa, bank, and wire fraud, and was hoping to trade him for Americans currently held in Russia. Cherkasov is currently in Brazil serving a sentence. The Ministry of Justice denied his extradition because it viewed all these separate crimes as a single continuous act, with American potential prison time being too high.

Brazil is one of the major countries adopting a relatively neutral stance in the Russia-Ukraine war. Along with India and South Africa, it wants to uphold international norms while maintaining friendly relations with Russia, China, and NATO.


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