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Canceling Ukraine and the Baltics: Lavrov’s participation leads to boycott of OSCE meetings

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Cancel Ukraine and the Baltics
Lavrov’s participation leads to boycott of OSCE meetings

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe unable to act as Moscow’s blocking decisions. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov still wants to attend the summit. That is why some states refuse to participate.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has canceled his participation in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting. Ole Nikolenko, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kiev, justified Kuleba’s absence with the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“Russia has unleashed an existential crisis in the OSCE, holding the organization hostage to its will and aggression,” he wrote on Facebook. The meeting is scheduled to take place in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje on Thursday. Moscow has imprisoned three Ukrainian representatives of the OSCE for more than 500 days, Nikolenko said. He told Ukrainian media that Kiev’s representatives will be represented at the OSCE meeting at ambassadorial level.

The Baltic countries are also boycotting the meeting. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s participation in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje this week provides a campaign opportunity for the leadership in Moscow, the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia said in a joint statement. The meeting risks “legitimizing aggressor Russia as a rightful member of our community of free nations.” So they don’t want to participate in Thursday and Friday debates.

According to Russian reports, some Western countries have expressed interest in bilateral talks with Lavrov. But America is not among them. According to its own information, the OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization with 57 participating states in North America, Europe and Asia. This time, Union Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach and her American counterpart Antony Blinken and others want to attend the annual meeting of member states. After the Russian attack on Ukraine, the OSCE’s ability to act was hampered by Moscow’s veto position. It was only on Monday that the states, which include both Russia and Ukraine, were able to agree on Malta as the chairperson. Russia previously rejected Estonia as the OSCE chairmanship for 2024 due to its membership in the NATO security alliance.

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