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Ukraine to boycott OSCE ministerial meeting because of Lavrov's presence

For the first time since the full-scale invasion, the Russian minister will attend the meeting.

Ukraine to boycott OSCE ministerial meeting because of Lavrov's presence
Photo: EPA/UPG

The Ukrainian delegation will not participate in the OSCE ministerial meeting at the level of foreign ministers due to Russia's Sergei Lavrov's presence there.

The meeting will take place in Skopje on 30 November-1 December. The Russian foreign minister will be attending the meeting for the first time since the full-scale war, Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said on Facebook.

"The Russian Federation is consistently destroying the OSCE by abusing the consensus rule. Resorting to blackmail and open threats, the Russian Federation has systematically blocked consensus on key issues. It also arbitrarily blocked Estonia's candidacy for the OSCE chairmanship in 2024. In addition, Russia has illegally detained three Ukrainian OSCE representatives, who have been in prison for more than 500 days. Russia has created an existential crisis in the OSCE and turned the organisation into a hostage to its whims and aggression," Nikolenko said.

He said that under such circumstances, the presence of the Russian delegation at the ministerial meeting for the first time since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine will only exacerbate the crisis into which Russia has driven the OSCE.

"We must work together to save the OSCE from Russia, and not send signals about the possibility of returning to the forms of cooperation that existed before February 2022 to a state that has unleashed the largest armed aggression in Europe since the end of World War II and grossly violated all the principles of the Helsinki Final Act. In view of this, the delegation of Ukraine will not participate in the OSCE Ministerial meeting at the level of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. At the same time, Ukraine remains committed to the OSCE principles and is ready to continue working with partners to restore respect for the Helsinki Final Act, in particular through the implementation of the Peace Formula of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy," he said.

He added that Ukraine highly appreciates the efforts of the North Macedonian Chairmanship and personally of Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, who have demonstrated high professionalism and unwavering commitment to upholding the OSCE principles and commitments.

The foreign offices of the Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - issued a similar statement.

"Over the past two years, we have witnessed one OSCE participating state actively and brutally trying to destroy another. Let's be very clear: Russia's war of aggression and atrocities against its sovereign and peaceful neighbour Ukraine are in flagrant violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and are an attack on the OSCE and its core principles. We have also seen nothing but Russia's obstructive behaviour in the OSCE itself - first by blocking any OSCE presence and activities in Ukraine, then by blocking Estonia's 2024 chairmanship for completely contrived reasons, and now by blocking constructive solutions to preserve and function the organisation," the statement reads.

The ministers believe that Lavrov's presence will only provide another opportunity for Russian propaganda.

It became known on 24 November that North Macedonia would allow Lavrov to participate in the meeting. The delegation will also include Maria Zakharova, the Kremlin's propaganda mouthpiece and Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

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