Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador firmly defended the presence of a Russian military unit in a weekend parade commemorating Mexico’s independence day. This decision faced sharp criticism from those who believed that Mexico had provided a platform to forces involved in the Ukraine conflict.
Despite objections from Ukraine’s ambassador to Mexico, opposition politicians, and critical media, Lopez Obrador reiterated that Mexico extended an invitation to all countries to participate. He stated during a regular government press conference, “We have relations with all countries in the world, and we invite everyone,” acknowledging that the presence of the Russian unit had caused a “scandal.”
Lopez Obrador, a leftist leader, has been keen on maintaining Mexico’s neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and has even proposed peace talks at one point. However, his government has supported significant U.N. resolutions that criticize Russia’s role in the conflict.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Mexico, Oksana Dramaretska, expressed her discontent, stating that the parade had been “sullied” by the participation of a Russian unit that she said was “stained with blood.” She questioned the coherence of this action with Lopez Obrador’s policy of neutrality and condemnation of aggression against Ukraine.
Russia’s embassy in Mexico celebrated the participation of the 154th Preobrazhenskiy Regiment in the event, emphasizing the friendship between Mexico and Russia.
Besides Russia, units from Brazil, Chile, China, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cuba, and Nicaragua, among others, also took part in the parade. Nicaragua’s participation drew criticism due to the government’s crackdown on opposition to President Daniel Ortega, who argues that his opponents are attempting a coup.
Xochitl Galvez, the primary opposition candidate for Mexico’s 2024 presidential election, criticized Lopez Obrador, stating that he had “made it clear that his friends are dictators, not democrats.”
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