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Ukraine and the Baltic countries boycott the OSCE meeting, due to the participation of Russia

2023-11-28 20:27:09, Kosova & Bota CNA

Ukraine and the Baltic countries boycott the OSCE meeting, due to the

Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania announced today that they will boycott the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) being held in North Macedonia this week, due to the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

This would be the first time Mr Lavrov would attend an OSCE meeting since the start of Russia's full-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Moscow's aggression prompted sweeping Western sanctions.

The meeting of the OSCE, an organization of 57 members, will be held from November 30 to December 1 in Skopje.

Kiev was the first to announce that it would not take its representative to Skopje.

"The Ukrainian delegation will not participate in the OSCE meeting at the level of ministers of foreign affairs," Oleh Nikolenko, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, wrote in a statement on Facebook.

Mr. Nikolenko said Russia had abused the organization's consensus rules, used "blackmail and open threats" and held three Ukrainian OSCE representatives in prison for 500 days.

"Under such conditions, the presence of a Russian delegation, at the ministerial level for the first time since the beginning of the large-scale Russian attack on Ukraine, would only deepen the crisis in which Russia has plunged the OSCE", he said.

Solidarity of the Baltic countries

In a gesture of solidarity with Kiev, the foreign ministers of the three Baltic countries later issued a statement saying they too would not attend the meeting if Mr Lavrov attended.

His participation "risks delegitimizing Russia's role as an aggressor within a community of free nations, regardless of the atrocious crimes Russia has committed," they said.

In the joint statement, the foreign ministers of the three Baltic countries accused Russia of taking blocking actions within the OSCE, such as banning the organization's monitoring mission in Ukraine, as well as blocking Estonia's request to chair the organization in 2024. .

In the past, Russia has accused the West of undermining the OSCE through NATO's "reckless expansion" in Central and Eastern Europe./ VOA

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