On the anniversary of the invasion – Russia attends the OSCE meeting despite protests


Ironically, on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a delegation from Russia is taking part in the OSCE conference at the Hofburg in Vienna, Moscow confirmed on Friday. This caused a controversy, as did the fact that the controversial Akademikerball was taking place at the same time. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) has already warned Russian MPs not to go to the ball.

“We are now in the process of obtaining the visa and preparing for the trip. I think everything will be normal,” said the deputy head of the foreign affairs committee in the Council of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Jabarov, in the newspaper “Parlamentarskaya Gazeta” on Friday. Austria has assured that it will issue visas to all Russian parliamentarians .

Recently denied visa
Russian politicians last attended an OSCE meeting in 2021. At the last two meetings, the host countries Britain and Poland refused visas to the Russian delegation. Many Russian MPs are now on Western sanctions lists due to the invasion of Ukraine ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. Members of parliament from 20 countries therefore protested against the participation of the Russian delegation in a letter to the Austrian federal government.

Schallenberg warns against visiting the ball
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs nevertheless insists on the entry permit for the meeting on 23 and 24 February in Vienna and justifies this with the obligation under international law as the seat of the OSCE. At the same time, Minister Schallenberg repeated his request to Russian MPs not to use their stay in Vienna to attend the Academic Ball, which was taking place at the same time. If the delegates attend other events outside the OSCE session, it would be “a flagrant violation of international law”.

The controversial Akademikerball, a meeting place for the right-wing (political) scene, will take place this year on February 24 in the Hofburg. Russian politicians also visited the ball time and time again.

“Ready to defend our position”
Based in Vienna, the OSCE grew out of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) established in 1975, which promoted détente between East and West. It includes 57 countries from Europe, North America and Asia. It bills itself as the largest regional security organization and was considered an important platform between East and West until the war in Ukraine.

The Russian delegation must be prepared for serious attacks during the debate, Dschabarov said. “We understand that all 30 NATO countries that are also members of the OSCE will speak out against our country.” But Russian parliamentarians are ready to put forward their position. In 2021, Russians left the OSCE meeting in protest of a resolution condemning Russia’s occupation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in Ukraine.

Source: Krone


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