Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday defended the participation of Russian soldiers in an Independence Day military parade, an inclusion that prompted an angry response from Ukraine.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Mexico, Oksana Dramaretska, wrote on social media that the event was “tarnished by the participation of a Russian regiment: their boots and hands of war criminals are stained with blood.”
“How coherent, Mr Lopez Obrador, is your policy of neutrality and your condemnation of Russian aggression against my country?” she asked, alluding to the invasion.
Around 15 Russian troops carrying their country’s flag took part in Saturday’s parade in Mexico City marking 213 years of independence, along with military delegations from several other nations.
“We have relations with all the countries in the world and everyone is invited,” Lopez Obrador said at his regular news conference Monday, adding: “It’s always been done.”
The Mexican government has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and in February voted in favor of a United Nations resolution demanding the immediate withdrawal of Moscow’s troops.
At the same time, Lopez Obrador has refused to impose sanctions on Russia or send military aid to Ukraine, saying that his government seeks to promote dialogue to achieve peace.
Last year, Lopez Obrador proposed a peacemaking committee including Pope Francis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the idea failed to win significant support.
In April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Mexico for its support to organize a summit with Latin American countries to help end the Russian invasion, in a message to Mexican lawmakers.