Brazil's Bolsonaro says Western sanctions against Russia have failed

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro visits a photographic exhibition at Planalto Palace, in Brasilia

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the economic sanctions imposed by the West against Russia had not worked, echoing comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The comments by Bolsonaro, who met with Putin days before the Ukraine invasion in February, are likely to go down badly with the United States and many European countries, which have previously criticized Brazil's engagement with Russia.

"The economic barriers that the United States and Europe imposed against Russia did not work," Bolsonaro told supporters, adding that his position towards Putin and the war "was one of balance."

Bolsonaro said that stance had allowed him to acquire fertilizers, a key input for Brazil's vast agricultural sector, from Russia. He also said Russia shared Brazil's concerns over "sovereignty" of the Amazon.

The president has often described criticism by other nations of his stewardship of the rainforest as an infringement on Brazil's sovereignty.

Earlier on Thursday, Putin said it was obvious that Western sanctions were creating difficulties, "but not at all what the initiators of the economic blitzkrieg against Russia were counting on."

In June, Bolsonaro and Putin discussed global food security in a phone call, and confirmed their intention to strengthen their strategic partnership.

(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Sam Holmes)