The Baltic countries will boycott the OSCE meeting in Skopje because of Lavrov's presence

Photo: Twitter, Margus Tsakhna

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have announced that they will boycott the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Skopje, if Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends.

- Lavrov's presence carries the risk of giving legitimacy to the aggressor Russia as a legitimate member of our community of free nations, to trivialize the atrocious crimes that Russia has committed, as well as the obvious Russian violation and contempt of the basic principles and obligations of the OSCE, it is stated. in the joint statement of the foreign ministers of the three Baltic countries.

Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsakhna says that "Russia will use this opportunity to spread its propaganda and undermine the unity of the West."

- The fact is that while the OSCE meeting is being held in Skopje, the Russian military machine attacks innocent Ukrainians and deports children without batting an eye. Estonia cannot sit at the same table with the aggressor and bear responsibility for the consequences that Lavrov's presence may bring. It goes against our basic principles. Russian aggression against its independent and peaceful neighbor Ukraine violates international law and is an attack on the OSCE and its fundamental values. Lavrov's place is at a special tribunal and not at the OSCE table, said Tsakhna, whose country, according to the rotating principle, was supposed to take over the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2024, but due to the opposition of Russia and Belarus, instead of Estonia at the head of the organization Malta will come as a compromise solution.

It is crucial, according to him, to immediately end the aggression against Ukraine, to withdraw the Russian troops from the occupied areas, to pay compensation for the destruction and to call the criminals to account.

- But there are no signs that Russia is considering following international law or OSCE principles. The OSCE was created to restore European security, prevent conflicts and maintain peace. With its illegal and brutal actions, Russia has repeatedly proven that it is not a security partner for Europe. In reality, Europe currently needs defense from and against Russia, Tsakhna said in a statement supported by his colleagues from Latvia, Kristianis Karins and from Lithuania, Gabrielius Landsbergis.

Ukrainian Minister Kuleba refused to participate in the OSCE Summit in Skopje

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will not attend the Ministerial meeting either. As the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, the presence of the Russian delegation at the meeting at the ministerial level for the first time since the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine will only deepen the crisis in which Russia has introduced the OSCE.

The statement from Kyiv added that they appreciate the efforts of Macedonia as chairman in 2023, as well as personally of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bujar Osmani, who, as stated, "showed high professionalism and unwavering commitment to the protection of the principles and commitments of OSCE". Gratitude is also expressed to "North Macedonia for prioritizing the issue of opposing Russian aggression against Ukraine during its presidency".

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