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Exclusive: Ukraine“s Zelenskiy due to address Mexico“s Congress Thursday -sources

2023-04-19T22:55:52Z

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news briefing with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki after an overview of polish made Rosomak armoured personnel carriers in Warsaw, Poland April 5, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is due to address Mexico’s Congress on Thursday by video, according to two people familiar with the matter, as he seeks support in his country’s ongoing war with Russia.

Mexico’s government has said it wants to remain neutral in the conflict, and some supporters of Ukraine have criticized the country’s leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for taking issue with European arms shipments to Kyiv.

Still, Mexico has voted alongside the United States and other Western powers on a number of major U.N. resolutions.

The speech was due to take place around midday Thursday, the sources said.

Zelenskiy’s address to the lower house of Congress came at the invitation of a congressional friendship group between Mexico and Ukraine, according to the sources. There are other similar groups in the Mexican Congress, including one for Russia.

The Ukrainian embassy in Mexico did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The German president and the U.S. ambassador to Mexico have been among diplomatic allies that have sought to persuade the Mexican government to side with Ukraine against Russia.

Attempts to sway public opinion in Mexico over the war in Ukraine have led to some notable spats in Congress.

Last year, the Russian ambassador to Mexico told Mexican lawmakers that Mexico would never take orders from “Uncle Sam”, prompting the U.S. ambassador to urge Mexico to support Ukraine.

Lopez Obrador last year proposed a plan to halt the fighting in Ukraine, although Ukrainian officials opposed it, arguing it would be advantageous to Russia.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard met separately with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to discuss the peace plan at the U.N. General Assembly in September. Nothing has come of the plan so far.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is currently on a Latin American tour, visiting Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.