Ukraine and Baltic states boycott OSCE meeting in protest of Russia's presence

The meeting of the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, scheduled for 1 and 2 December in Skopje, North Macedonia, is likely to be cut short, due to the absence of four members out of the 57 members of this organization and especially to the presence of the Russian Foreign Minister.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on November 21, 2023 (illustrative image). AP - Evgenia Novozhenina

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On Tuesday, Ukraine, then the Baltic States, announced a boycott of the annual meeting following the confirmation of Sergei Lavrov's presence, despite the announced arrival of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. These absences show that this organisation, created in 1995 on the basis of the former Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, is no longer functioning.

It was the Bulgarian authorities' decision to allow a plane carrying the Russian Foreign Minister to fly over their airspace that was the trigger for these defection announcements. Ukraine, but also Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have confirmed their absence from the next annual meeting to denounce Russia's presence.

« Legitimizing the aggressor Russia »

A boycott because, according to the Estonian Foreign Minister, Russia intends to take advantage of its presence to spread its propaganda and undermine the unity of the West. Russia was absent from the last annual meeting held in Poland due to a lack of overflight clearance from Warsaw.

In a joint statement, the Baltic states said Lavrov's participation risked "legitimizing the aggressor Russia as a member of our community of free nations. A country that has been blocking any decision by this organization for years."

Under such conditions, the spokesperson of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry explains, the presence of a Russian delegation at the ministerial meeting for the first time since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine will only aggravate the crisis in which Russia has dragged the OSCE. An organization that will now have to evolve if it wants to continue to operate.

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