(CNN Spanish) — The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, addressed the leaders of the countries of the Americas who are meeting this week at the 52nd General Assembly of the OAS, asking them to join Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion.
“Which side would Simón Bolívar be on in the war that Russia unleashed against Ukraine? Who would José de San Martín support? Who would Miguel Hidalgo sympathize with?” Said the Ukrainian president, invoking the liberators of the continent, this Wednesday.
“I think they wouldn’t help someone who is just plundering a smaller country like a typical colonizer. I think they wouldn’t support someone who constantly lies and doesn’t even call a war a war, hiding behind the definition of ‘special military operation’, Zelensky continued.
In the pre-recorded message, the Ukrainian leader, who spoke in English, asked the countries of the continent to support him on three fronts: first at the international level, condemning the “aggressive policy” of Russia. Second, he called for “integrity” of countries in not allowing local economies to finance “criminal warfare and war crimes” in Russia. And thirdly, Zelensky called for support with ordinary people.
“I’m not asking for much,” Zelensky said. “Just spread the truth about this war and the casualties caused by Russian aggression. Talk about it. Let your people know the evil that Russia has brought to the absolutely peaceful Ukrainian people. A nation that has never started any war of aggression.”
“The greater the support for those who fight for freedom and independence, the stronger freedom in general will be in the world and the faster we will advance to liberate our land from the Russian invaders,” added the president, who closed the message with a phrase in Spanish: “Long live freedom!”.
The position of Latin America against the war in Ukraine
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February this year, without becoming partners or allies, most of the international community has shown support for Ukraine and rejection of the Russian invasion.
Latin American countries are divided on their position on the war in Ukraine.
In February 2022, the OAS General Secretariat condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of this year, which it described as an “attack against the peace and security of humanity, as well as civilized relations between States,” however, this was an institutional statement that did not reflect the position of each country.
In the most recent example of how the countries of the region are facing Russia’s war in Ukraine, you can see the position of Mexico and Brazil in the United Nations Security Council, which last week voted in favor of condemning the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia. That resolution was vetoed by Russia.
In this vote, Mexico was in favor of condemning the annexation of Ukrainian territories to Russia, but Brazil abstained from voting.
Previously, on February 25 of this year, days after the invasion of Ukraine, 24 OAS countries condemned Russia’s “illegal invasion” of Ukraine.
Countries such as Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, among others, asked Moscow for a ceasefire and “withdraw all its forces and equipment Ukraine” and seek the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the conflict.
That declaration was not signed by Nicaragua. However, almost a month later, Nicaragua asked the OAS to join to the statement on “The situation in Ukraine”.
Argentina rejected the use of armed force and asked Russia to “cease military actions in Ukraine”, in a statement issued after the invasion, in February of this year.
Those who have supported Russia
In March of this year, the questioned president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, announced “all his support for President Vladimir Putin in the defense of peace in Russia.”
Nicaragua is another one that has supported Putin in the war against Ukraine. On February 22, President Daniel Ortega expressed his support for Putin, who at that time recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“President Putin has taken a step today, where what he has done is recognize some republics that since the 2014 coup, these republics that border Russia, did not recognize the coup governments and they created their government, established their government there and they have given battle,” said Ortega.
The Nicaraguan president said, after the decision of his Russian counterpart to recognize the two pro-Moscow separatist regions, that it is justifiable that he has sent a military presence at a time of escalation of the conflict with the United States and several European countries, given the threat to invade Ukraine. “Logically, this brings military support so that these governments have security,” said Ortega.
Mexico has had an ambiguous position regarding the war in Ukraine. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, she voted in favor of the resolution that condemned the Russian invasion. She did the same at a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS). But simultaneously, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has expressed in multiple public statements that Mexico is “neutral”, that he wants good relations with all countries and that he only seeks peace.
AMLO has refused to impose any type of economic sanction on Russia and has not canceled the flights of the Russian airline Aeroflot to Cancun. And he said in March of this year: “We are neither for nor against Russia.”
Meanwhile, Colombia, led by its president Gustavo Petro, called on Russia and Ukraine in the United Nations General Assembly to “make peace”, but did not set a position towards either of the two countries until then.
In fact, Petro said on September 21 in a forum organized by the Spanish newspaper El País that he is working on a joint declaration with his Mexican counterpart to stop the war in Ukraine. “It is time to talk about… how to end the conflict,” Petro said. “I invite Europe to talk about peace.”
“What is needed today is to start peace negotiations now, because the world has to concentrate on other problems,” Petro said, adding that “we are not with any international aggression.”
However, this Wednesday, Colombia signed, along with 45 other countries, a declaration before the United Nations Security Council against the annexation of Ukrainian territories to Russia.
That support came a day after Petro did not answer a question about Colombia’s official position on Russia’s war in Ukraine, during a joint statement with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
And for his part, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has declared his neutrality in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Last July, Zelensky said that he told Bolsonaro that he does not support Brasilia’s “position of neutrality” on the war in Ukraine.
In an excerpt from an interview with Brazil’s GloboNews news channel, which Zelensky posted on his Telegram channel, the Ukrainian president says he told Bolsonaro that he wants “support” from Brazil.
Zelensky does not specify the date of the conversation, but he previously tweeted about a call on Monday.
“You can’t be somewhere in the middle… I don’t support that position. I told the president,” he added.
Since the beginning of the invasion, Bolsonaro has avoided condemning or sanctioning Russia.
“The president of Brazil told me that he supports Ukraine, his sovereignty, but Brazil takes a position of neutrality,” Zelensky said.