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Putin Calls on BRICS Countries to Play Bigger Role in Opposing West

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (front) attends a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

Speaking on the eve of a trip to Latin America, President Vladimir Putin said Brazil and other emerging powers must play a greater role in world affairs, suggesting they could do more to counter U.S. influence.

In an interview published on Friday, Putin framed his tour of Brazil, Cuba and Argentina as part of an effort to build a multi-polar world at a time when he is isolated by sanctions over Ukraine and his relations with the West are at their frostiest since the Cold War.

Russia sees strong relations with Brazil as "strategically important" in opposing Western clout, he said, ahead of next week's summit with fellow BRICS nations, which includes China, India and South Africa.

"This powerful and fast-developing country is destined to play an important role in the emerging poly-centric world order," Putin told the ITAR-tass news agency.

He said Moscow would back Brazil to obtain a seat on the UN Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding member along with the U.S.

The Russian leader has ramped up criticism of what he says is U.S. meddling in other state's affairs as the former Cold War superpowers clashed over Russia's annexation of Crimea in March and its political support of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

In a veiled dig at Washington on Friday, Putin also criticized cyber espionage. Last year's revelations by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden of U.S. surveillance have led to a rift in its ties with European allies.

"It (cyber espionage) not only amounts to overt hypocrisy in relationships between allies and partners but also a direct violation of the state's sovereignty," he said.

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