By MARK LORENZANA
Mexican Ambassador to the United Nations Juan Ramón de la Fuente on Monday, Oct. 10, criticized the annexation by Russia of four Ukrainian territories, and branded the act as illegal.
De la Fuente likewise announced that Mexico will vote in favor of a draft resolution in the UN General Assembly condemning Russia for annexing the four Ukrainian regions — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — in September of this year.
Sponsored by 44 countries — which does not include Mexico — the draft resolution by the UN Security Council to condemn Russia for the annexations will be voted on in the General Assembly, after being vetoed by Russia.
“Mexico voted in favor of said draft resolution as an elected member of the Security Council, and we will do the same in this General Assembly,” De la Fuente said in a plenary session. “We will act based on our unwavering support and adherence to international law, in particular the prohibition of territorial expansion through the use of force, or other actions that contravene the Charter of the United Nations.”
On Sept. 30, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United States and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine. Russia, China’s strategic partner, abstained from the vote.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had proclaimed Russian rule over four regions that make up 15 percent of Ukraine’s territory — the largest annexation to date in Europe, since World War II. The move had been widely condemned by Western countries, as well as several of Russia’s close allies.
De la Fuente’s decision, however, is in direct contrast to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) recent statements, as he reiterated his “neutrality” on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We won’t get involved in arguments,” López Obrador said in response to a journalist on Monday, Oct. 8, during his daily press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. “They don’t meddle in our affairs, and we won’t meddle in anyone else’s. Mexico has a policy of neutrality, and what we want is a peaceful solution to that controversy, as established by our constitution.”
In the same press conference, López Obrador likewise insisted that an agreement between Mexico and Russia for “space research for peace purposes” does not have elements of espionage.
“It is a treaty that was signed last year, in September, before the war between Russia and Ukraine,” López Obrador said.
The Russian Embassy in Mexico, meanwhile, confirmed that an intergovernmental agreement has already been ratified for Mexico to use Russia’s Glonass satellite system — already operating in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Brazil, and which Washington believes is part of Moscow’s strategy to incorporate Latin America into its zone of influence — which Dolia Estévez, a Mexican journalist specializing in security issues, said has been used in other countries “for espionage purposes.”
According to the Kremlin, in a document posted on its official website, the Glonass satellite system “will develop an optical-electronic system to prevent dangerous space situations in Mexico.”
In February of this year, López Obrador tepidly “condemned” the war in Ukraine, and said that “Mexico is against any use of military force to resolve geopolitical disputes.” In September, Mykhailo Podolyak, chief advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, criticized AMLO of promoting a Russian political agenda to justify Moscow’s illegal invasion of Ukrainian territory, through the pretense of López Obrador’s so-called peace plan. At that time, Podolyak tweeted that AMLO’s peace plan is “a Russian plan.”
“There is a lot of propaganda going around, wanting to convince people that there are good guys and bad guys in this war. Everything becomes a scandal,” AMLO said on Monday, still speaking on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. “Don’t get us into an argument.”