Tuesday, April 23, 2024

‘Everyone is invited’: AMLO defends Russian participation in military parade

President López Obrador on Monday defended the participation of Russian soldiers in Saturday’s Independence Day military parade in Mexico City after Ukraine’s ambassador to Mexico and others criticized their involvement in the annual event.

“We have relations with all the countries of the world, and everyone is invited,” he told reporters at his regular news conference.

The President said Russia were welcome to take part in the parade, along with “all the countries of the world.” (lopezobrador.org.mx)

The practice of inviting all the world’s nations to participate in the Independence Day parade “has always been done,” López Obrador added.

A small contingent of Russian soldiers marched through the streets of the capital on Saturday as their colleagues continued to wage war against Ukraine. Military units from a number of other countries, including China, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka also participated in the parade.

Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Dramaretska said on the X social media site that the parade was “sullied by the participation of a Russian regiment.”

The boots and hands of Russian soldiers are “stained with blood,” she said.

Independence parade
The Mexican military marked Independence Day with a parade through Mexico City. (lopezobrador.org.mx)

Dramaretska questioned López Obrador over how the Russian army’s participation in the parade was “coherent” with his “policy of neutrality” and “condemnation of Russian aggression against my country.”

For its part, the Russian Embassy in Mexico said on X that soldiers from the Russian army’s 154th Preobrazhensky regiment took part and that it was an “honor to participate in such an important event for the Mexican people.”

“Long live the friendship between Mexico and Russia,” the embassy added.

López Obrador, whose government chose not to place sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, said Monday that an unwarranted, media-driven “scandal” had been made out of Russia’s participation in the parade, which he and other officials attended.

Oksana Dramaretska
Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Dramaretska questioned the inclusion of Russian troops in the parade, asking whether it was “coherent” with official government policies on neutrality in the conflict. (Cuartoscuro)

“It caught my attention because [soldiers from] China also marched and there wasn’t such a scandal. Everything was about Russia,” he said without acknowledging that the participation of Nicaragua – where a repressive government led by President Daniel is in power – was also criticized.

“All the governments with which Mexico has relations were invited…the Ministry of Defense does it,” López Obrador said.

He also said that Mexico City Mayor Martí Batres had informed him that a Russian contingent participated in the military parade when Felipe Calderón was president between 2006 and 2012, a period when Russia was involved in other conflicts, but “was not actively invading its neighbor,” according to an Associated Press report.

“Perhaps then the media wasn’t so angry. Now they’re very angry with us,” said López Obrador, who frequently claims that the vast majority of the Mexican press is opposed to his government.

Xóchitl Gálvez
Opposition Senator Xóchitl Gálvez also criticized the decision to allow Russian soldiers to participate in official celebrations. (Jorge Ortega/Cuartoscuro)

Among other critics of Russia’s participation in the celebrations marking the 213th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence was Senator Xóchitl Gálvez, who has been selected as the 2024 presidential candidate for the Broad Front for Mexico opposition bloc.

“I dream that in the independence parade of 2025 a contingent from Ukraine is there, and not one from Russia or Nicaragua. Foreign contingents must be worthy company of our armed forces,” she wrote on X.

In another post, Gálvez pointed out that López Obrador failed to invite representatives of Mexico’s legislative and judicial powers to the parade, but did invite “soldiers of authoritarian governments.”

“He made it clear that his friends are dictators, not democrats,” she added.

With reports from Reforma, El Financiero and Reuters 

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