OSCE PA delegates call for preventing Russia’s participation in Vienna meeting
According to Poland’s Sejm, the relevant appeal, initiated by Barbara Bartuś and Vilija Aleknaitė Abramikienė, was signed by over 80 members of the Assembly from 21 countries – Poland, Lithuania, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.
“The participation of the Russian delegation in the session, which will take place exactly one year after the start of the illegal, unprovoked and criminal armed invasion in Ukraine, would not only not send a positive signal to the international community, but could even be perceived as a provocation. We have no doubt that the Russian delegation would use the OSCE PA as a forum to spread disinformation, fake news and hate speech. Thus, the OSCE PA would be relegated to the role of a transmitter of Russian propaganda,” the letter reads.
The delegates expressed hope that the Russians would not be allowed to the meeting, as it was during the two previous ones – in Birmingham on July 2-6 and in Warsaw on November 24-26.
They are convinced that the OSCE PA must "in the first place deal with the issue of ways to hold Russia to legal and international responsibility for war crimes committed in Ukraine."
Moreover, it was emphasized that credibility of the Russian side through the participation of its representatives in the Winter Meeting of the OSCE PA would be a "an act inexplicable to the public and would send a false signal about the symmetry of both sides in the ongoing conflict."
The document was signed by 11 representatives of Poland in the OSCE PA from various political forces.
As reported by Ukrinform, earlier the Austrian publication Der Standard reported that Austria, unlike Great Britain and Poland, which last year chose not to issue visas to Russians to participate in the OSCE PA meetings, "will allow numerous politicians and a large group of Russian journalists to enter the country" to participate in the meeting of the OSCE PA in Vienna on February 23-24. At the same time, according to the outlet, all members of the Russian delegation announced today are on EU sanctions lists, including the head of the delegation Piotr Tolstoi and Leonid Slutsky, known for their statements in support of the war of aggression against Ukraine.
At the same time, the publication pointed out that on February 24, the anniversary of the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the traditional Ball of Academics will be held in Vienna, which is organized by the far-right pro-Russian Freedom Party, in the same Hofburg Congress Hall as the OSCE PA session. The head of the Ukrainian mission to the OSCE, Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, in a comment to Der Standard, expressed fears about a "huge propaganda show" on the part of Russia if Russian politicians "dance in the Hofburg on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine."
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