- Mexico’s Independence Day parade, marking two anniversaries, draws attention with its international military guest list, including a controversial Russian regiment.
- Oksana Dramaretska, the Ukrainian ambassador, publicly questions Mexico’s diplomatic stance following Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict and parade participation.
- Public figures and citizens voice concerns on social media, highlighting Mexico’s foreign policy decisions and global affiliations.
On September 16th, as is customary, the President of Mexico presided over the traditional Military Parade, marking the 213th year of the country’s independence. However, this year’s parade was especially significant. Apart from commemorating the bicentennial of the Heroic Military College, it also featured international contingents from China, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba.
Yet, the presence that attracted the most attention, and subsequently criticism, was the honor guard of the Preobrazhenski Regiment from the Russian Federation. This inclusion sparked an uproar among many, particularly in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022. According to recent figures from U.S. officials cited by The New York Times, the conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 individuals.
Oksana Dramaretska, the Ukrainian ambassador to Mexico, did not hold back her thoughts. Shortly after the parade concluded, she took to her X account (formerly known as Twitter), expressing her dismay: “The Military Civic Parade in CDMX, sullied by the participation of a Russian regiment: their boots and hands of war criminals are stained with blood.” She further challenged President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s stance, questioning, “How consistent is it, Mr. @lopezobrador_, your policy of neutrality and your condemnation of Russia’s aggression against my country?”
Dramaretska has been a consistent voice urging Mexico to show greater support for Ukraine, especially given the scale of the crisis, often described as the largest humanitarian disaster in Europe since World War II.
Mexico’s foreign policy tends to be a more balancing act
Despite condemning the invasion at the UN Security Committee, the López Obrador administration has been reluctant to impose sanctions on Russia. This has been a sticking point for Dramaretska, who, in an interview with Infobae Mexico, stressed, “We call on the government to join the sanctions of the West…they destroy the Russian military machine.” She emphasized that neutrality isn’t an option in such situations, and a choice has to be made between the “aggressor and a victim.”
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Reflecting on the broader implications of the conflict, the ambassador poignantly noted, “When your country is attacked…We all have one goal and one desire: to defeat the enemy who came to our land.”
Mexico’s stance on foreign affairs, as articulated by the then Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, in March 2022, is rooted in the “Estrada Doctrine”, which champions non-intervention.
The public’s response mirrored Dramaretska’s concerns. Noted journalist León Krauze was vocal on X, labeling the parade’s inclusion of the Russian Federation as “a historic and outrageous shame.” Another user highlighted the absence of representatives from Mexico’s Judiciary or Legislative Branch but the conspicuous presence of military personnel from Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela, prompting questions about the current government’s allegiances.
The Preobrazhensky Regiment, at the heart of this controversy, boasts a storied past. Established in 1683 by Peter I, “The Great,” it has played pivotal roles in several major conflicts, including the Northern War, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Turkish-Russian War. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, the regiment was disbanded due to its officers’ loyalty to the tsar. However, in 2013, it was reconstituted and currently comprises over a thousand members from different Russian military units.