Nordic, Baltic, Polish MPs fail to agree on joint boycott of OSCE session

  • 2023-02-13
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Nordic, Baltic and Polish parliamentarians have failed to reach consensus on a joint boycott of the winter session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna if Russians are allowed to participate, but Lithuania sticks to its decision not to attend the gathering.

According to Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, head of the Lithuanian parliament's delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, representatives of other countries decided to "fight the Russians in the same hall".

"No decision was taken on a joint boycott. All delegations are very united in support of Ukraine, but decisions (on whether to attend) will be made individually," Aleknaite-Abramikiene told BNS on Saturday. 

"It seems to me that we will be left alone, because they decided to fight the Russians in that hall. I think this could cause a lot of chaos and (...) turn into a scandal, but probably most delegations will decide (to attend)," she said. 

"Our decision is to abstain from going to this session and it l can hardly change," the Lithuanian MP said. "We are consulting and following the changing situation. It is a pity that a joint protest did not take place."

According to Aleknaite-Abramikiene, Ukraine's representatives intend to travel to Vienna to meet with their allies, rather than to attend the Hofburg session, so it is possible that someone from the Lithuanian delegation will go to the Austrian capital to meet with them. 

"In any case, the Lithuanian delegation will not sit in the same hall with the Russians," she said. "Our decision is not to go." 

In a joint statement issued after their meeting in Vilnius at the end of last week, the Nordic, Baltic and Polish parliamentary delegations said that Russia must be held accountable and responsible for its actions in Ukraine, and that an international legal mechanism should be created to assess the aggressor's crimes.

"We note with great regret the fact of granting visas to Russian parliamentarians who are under the EU sanctions list and allowing them to take part in the Winter Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on the very date of the anniversary of Russian aggression against Ukraine open war of aggression," they said.

"Russia's participation in the OSCE PA meeting in Vienna will without doubt be used for propaganda purposes at home and abroad and will send a very disappointing message to the international community," according to the statement. 

All members of the Russian delegation have been on the EU sanction lists for violations of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity since the beginning of 2014.

The OSCE PA session will take place on February 23-24, the anniversary of Russia's war against Ukraine.