Mexico Is Not Prepared for Russian-Ukrainian War
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Mexico Is Not Prepared for Russian-Ukrainian War

Photo by:   Simon Infanger
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 03/02/2022 - 07:39

The Ukrainian-Russian conflict will affect Mexico beyond an increase in fuel prices as all supply chains are bound to be affected. Furthermore, if the war becomes an international conflict, Mexico would be affected due to US involvement, say experts.

Oil and gas prices have risen significantly since Russia invaded Ukraine, as Russia currently supplies 10 percent of the world's oil and one third of Europe's gas. The price increase has affected key supply chains, so all products that need to be transported have also increased in price. Although President López Obrador claims that the country is prepared for this situation, the increase in hydrocarbon prices is expected to go above global inflation and interest rates. As a result, Mexico would be significantly affected, especially since the price of US fossil fuel imports will increase. Last year, the country imported an average of 460Mb/d. Norma Soto Castañeda,  Specialist in International Relations, La Salle University Business School, stressed that the rise in fuel prices will not only affect the country economically: "Poverty, unemployment, insecurity and social problems will become much more acute if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues."

Furthermore, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could be aggravated in Mexico since the country currently receives millions of doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine. If this supply is affected, both the vaccination plan and the country’s economic recovery will slow down. “Given the possible lack of vaccines, the Mexican government will have to change its traffic light system and move more toward confinement to continue controlling the pandemic. If it does not, more cases can be triggered," said Abelardo Rodríguez Sumano, Professor-Researcher, Department of Studies of the Iberoamerican University.

In addition, the country is expected to experience greater tensions regarding diplomatic and political relations. Although the president and minister of foreign affairs have called for a peaceful solution, citizens and diplomats such as the Ukrainian Ambassador to Mexico, Oksana Dramaretska, have called for the country to be more decisive and break relations with Russia. However, experts believe it is important that the country does not publicly condemn a country, especially as attacks to the US could impact Mexico. “We are under the nuclear umbrella of the US. Whether we like it or not, they represent the world’s foremost nuclear power,” Rodríguez said.

For years the Treaty of Tlatelolco, signed in 1967 and prohibiting nuclear weapons on the continent, has protected Latin American countries. However, this could change. Experts say that although Mexico is likely to maintain its policy of never supporting acts of war, the country may still suffer collateral damage.

Under Mexican law, the decision to go to war rests with the president, making it  López Obrador's decision. National experts say the country would be at a serious disadvantage in the event of going to war, especially since the armed forces are not prepared for operations abroad. “There is a possibility that this could turn into a gobal conflict. It will affect the whole world, including Mexico, even if If it is not ready,” Rodríguez said.

What Is Happening Between Ukraine and Russia?

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been on the rise for months, despite diplomatic attempts to improve the situation. Russian attacks began after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Luhansk and Donetsk as independent territories. Putin said that the launch of a special military operation was required to protect people, especially Russians, who allegedly are being killed in Ukraine. Furthermore, Putin argued that Ukraine's NATO membership was unacceptable as it was a move against Moscow’s sovereignty. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has declared martial law and called on world leaders to impose sanctions on Russia. Western countries argue that Russians arguments for what they deem an invasion consist of bad propaganda and that they will continue to support Ukraine.

On day 7 of the conflict, Russian forces continue to try to seize the capital, Kiev, as well as the second largest city, Kharkiv. According to the Ukrainian military, Russia's attacks have slowed down, especially as Ukrainian resistance continues to rise across the country. Although many countries have announced that they will not send troops to Ukraine to avoid the conflict from spiraling into an international one, many countries such as the US, Japan, Turkey and Poland have supported the Ukrainians via sanctions to Russia, military training, weapons, economic resources and  refugee asylum, among others. In addition, some Russian banks have been removed from SWIFT, a service that connects financial institutions across the world, which limits the country’s ability to continue financing the war in Ukraine.

Currently, high-level official discussions are taking place between Kievan and Moscowite authorities on the Ukraine-Belarus border with the aim of achieving a ceasefire. The outcome of these talks is critical because more violence is expected. Putin recently announced that Russia’s strategic missile forces are on “high alert.”

Photo by:   Simon Infanger

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