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Lithuania to boycott OSCE meeting in Vienna

Lithuania will boycott the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) because of the participation of the Russian delegation, the head of the Lithuanian delegation, Conservative Party MP Vilija Aleknaitė Abramikienė, said.

“We will not go to the winter session in Vienna, our reason is very simple – we believe that Russia, which has crossed all possible red lines, should not participate in a joint discussion with parliamentarians of other countries, especially because it is very offensive, both politically and morally to the Ukrainian delegation,” the Lithuanian MP said at a press conference on Wednesday.

In turn, Laurynas Kasčiūnas, a member of the Lithuanian delegation, pointed out that the Russian delegation to the OSCE consists of “Putin supporters”. The politician did not rule out that there would be a provocation from the Russian MPs during the Vienna session, that they would “try to show pride in having come even though they are under sanctions.”

“We simply decided not to participate in these games,” the Lithuanian MP emphasized.

Fightining the Russians in the meeting room

Last week in Vilnius, representatives of the Nordic, Baltic, and Polish delegations to the OSCE released a statement in which they said that Russia must be held accountable for its actions in Ukraine and that an international legal mechanism should be established to assess the crimes of the aggressor.

It is with deep regret that we note that Russian parliamentarians who are on the European Union sanction list have been granted visas to attend the winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly taking place on the anniversary of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” the statement said.

Nordic and Baltic States as well as Poland’s national delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the @OSCE expressed their regret at the decision to grant visas to #Russian 🇷🇺 parliamentarians, whose names are on a sanctions list.

— TVP World (@TVPWorld_com) February 11, 2023

Lithuania called on other countries to join the boycott, but a common position was not reached. According to the head of the Lithuanian delegation, representatives of other countries decided to “fight the Russians in the meeting room” of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

The winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will take place on Thursday, one day before the one-year mark of the start of Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg defended the decision to issue visas to the Russians, arguing that the government in Vienna, where the OSCE is based, is legally obliged to allow all interested delegations to attend.

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