MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president on Monday defended the participation of a contingent of Russian soldiers in a military parade over the weekend.
The presence of the Russian contingent at Saturday’s independence parade drew criticism Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mexico condemned the invasion, but adopted a policy of neutrality and refused to participate in the sanctions as it continues to buy COVID vaccines from Russia for 2020.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador he noted that a contingent from China also attended and stated that all countries with which Mexico has diplomatic relations were invited.
López Obrador acknowledged that the issue had become a “scandal” but attributed it to his ongoing feud with the news media, which he says is against him.
“The Chinese were also at the parade and there wasn’t that much outrage,” López Obrador said, noting that a Russian contingent had participated in the past, albeit in times when the country was not actively attacking its neighbor.
“All the countries with which Mexico has diplomatic relations were invited,” he said.
However, Ukrainian Ambassador to Mexico Oksana Dramaretska wrote on her social media accounts that “The Civil-Military Parade in Mexico City was tainted by the participation of the Russian regiment; the shoes and hands of these war criminals are stained with blood.”
Some members of Moreno López Obrador’s party have publicly expressed affection for Russia even after the invasion, and López Obrador has often criticized the United States for sending weapons to Ukraine.
The López Obrador administration continued to buy Russians Sputnik COVID vaccine and intends to use it as a booster shot later this year along with the Cuban Abdala vaccine.
Experts have questioned the use of these vaccines along with vaccines in Mexico Patria vaccineas a booster for the new variants as they were all designed in 2020 to combat the variants that were in circulation at the time.