Mexico declines to impose economic sanctions on Russia

2 minute read

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends the 109th anniversary of the death of President Francisco I Madero, a hero of the Mexican Revolution who was betrayed and murdered in a U.S.-backed coup, at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

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MEXICO CITY, March 1 (Reuters) - Mexico will not impose any economic sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday.

He also criticized what he called censorship of Russian state-sponsored media by social media companies.

"We are not going to take any sort of economic reprisal because we want to have good relations with all the governments in the world," Lopez Obrador told a news conference.

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Lopez Obrador's position stands in contrast to the broad international sanctions imposed on Russia for President Vladimir Putin's actions.

Russia has built strong links to various governments in Latin America, especially authoritarian administrations in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, but its ties with Mexico are seen to be limited due to the strong U.S.-Mexico relations.

The Mexican and U.S. economies are deeply intertwined. But leftist leader Lopez Obrador has at times had testy relations with the United States and has criticized U.S. foreign policy.

Late on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoke with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard by phone, "reiterating the worldwide call for the withdrawal of Russia's troops from Ukraine," he said in a tweet.

Ebrard in a separate tweet said he shared Mexico's perspective on Ukraine during the call, which he described as friendly. Ebrard last week condemned the invasion and demanded Russia end its military operations in Ukraine, marking a tougher stance than Lopez Obrador's call for dialogue. read more

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation."

Lopez Obrador's comments on Tuesday morning came in response to a question about the interest in Mexico of Russia's second-largest oil producer Lukoil (LKOH.MM) and Russian airline Aeroflot (AFLT.MM).

Lukoil said on Friday it has completed its acquisition of a 50% operator interest in an offshore oil project in Mexico, part of its drive to expand its global reach. read more

The Mexican president also criticized what he characterized as the censorship of Russian state media.

"I don't agree with the fact that media from Russia or any country is censored," Lopez Obrador said.

Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google barred Russia's state-owned media outlet RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook after the invasion of Ukraine. read more

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Reporting by Anthony Esposito, Ana Isabel Martinez and Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Will Dunham, Drazen Jorgic, Angus MacSwan and Kenneth Maxwell

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