Several countries plan to boycott the OSCE meeting because of Russia’s participation — Kuleba

Dmytro Kuleba
Dmytro Kuleba

Several foreign ministries have confirmed their boycott of the upcoming OSCE meeting, citing objection to the attendance of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on the sidelines of the Ukraine-NATO Council in Brussels, NV’s sister publication, Ukrainska Pravda, reported on Nov. 29.

Ukraine and the Baltic states had earlier confirmed their boycotts, but Kuleba said that there are “more than four” countries that disagree with Lavrov’s participation.

Read also: First Estonia, now Malta and the Secretary-General – Russia keeps blocking appointments at OSCE

Some ministers assured him they would attend the NATO meeting in Brussels but would not come to the OSCE session, though they “do not want to declare it publicly.”

There are also ministers who will be present at the dinner where Lavrov will be absent but will not boycott the session where he will participate.

Kuleba declined to criticize North Macedonia for inviting Lavrov to the meeting and granting him and his team visas, stating, “I want to defend the Macedonians who have supported Ukraine throughout the year.”

The meeting of foreign ministers of OSCE member countries in North Macedonia is scheduled to take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 in the North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje.

Read also: ‘Pragmatic & sober’ — Austrian FM explains invite of Russia’s Lavrov to OSCE meeting in Skopje

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced on Nov. 28 that Kuleba would not participate in the OSCE ministerial meeting due to Lavrov’s presence.

Russia, as an aggressor country, consistently undermines the OSCE, abusing the consensus rule, said Oleh Nikolenko, the ministry’s spokesperson, adding that it systematically blocks consensus on key issues, resorting to blackmail and open threats.

Russia has unlawfully detained three Ukrainian representatives of the OSCE who have been in prison for over 500 days, Nikolenko added.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia stated that their foreign ministers also decided not to attend the OSCE Ministerial Council due to the participation of Russian Foreign Minister.

“We, the ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, will not participate in this and will not share responsibility for the consequences it will create,” the statement said.

Read also: Poland bars Russian FM Lavrov from December OSCE meeting

At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will participate in the OSCE meeting but does not plan to meet with Lavrov.

Bulgaria confirmed that it allowed its airspace to be opened for the plane carrying the Russian delegation led by Lavrov.

Previously, Russia and Belarus blocked Estonia’s candidacy for the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2024. This issue will also be raised at the OSCE meeting.

Representatives of 57 countries will gather at the summit.

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