Lavrov’s Fiery Critique at OSCE Meeting in North Macedonia

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov didn’t mince words during a heated speech at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) annual meeting in North Macedonia. Lavrov directed his criticism at NATO, the European Union (EU), Ukraine, and the broader Western powers, labeling the OSCE as nothing more than an “appendage” of the EU and NATO. His fiery rhetoric questioned the organization’s relevance and raised doubts about the need for further investments in its revitalization.

NATO Expansion and Western Tolerance: Lavrov’s Accusations

Lavrov squarely blamed NATO for what he termed as “reckless expansion to the East,” attributing it to the resurgence of conflict in Europe. In his 15-minute address, he questioned the OSCE’s standing, suggesting that it teetered on the edge of irrelevance. Lavrov’s accusations didn’t stop there; he pointedly criticized Western tolerance of what he described as the “ruling neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv,” escalating the tension in an already charged atmosphere.

Lavrov’s Controversial Visit: Special Permission and Regional Boycotts

Notably, Lavrov’s attendance at the OSCE meeting marked his first visit to a NATO country since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The controversial nature of his visit was underscored by the fact that he needed special permission to fly over European airspace. The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – along with Ukraine, boycotted the OSCE meeting in protest against Lavrov’s presence, reflecting the deep-seated divisions.

Western Ministers Respond: Sharp Criticism and Firm Stance

Following Lavrov’s departure, Western ministers present at the OSCE meeting didn’t hold back in their criticism. Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen asserted that Russia’s attempts to shift blame for its choices were “transparent.” He emphasized the unwavering commitment to the core principles of the European security order and affirmed the right of Ukraine to make its independent foreign and security policy choices, principles that Russia itself had agreed to.

OSCE’s Struggle for Relevance: Vienna-Based Intergovernmental Organization

The OSCE, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, finds itself at a crossroads, as highlighted by Lavrov’s scathing remarks. Originally established to promote security, stability, and cooperation among its participating states, the organization now faces serious questioning about its efficacy. Lavrov’s critique, coupled with the regional boycotts and Western rebuttals, paints a complex picture of geopolitical tensions that continue to shape the landscape of European security and cooperation.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Tribune India

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