Russia on Saturday slammed Poland’s refusal to issue a visa to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov so he could take part in a meeting next month of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers.
In a statement on its website, Russia’s Foreign Ministry harshly criticized the Polish chairmanship of the OSCE, saying Warsaw did everything to destroy the group’s pillars and erode fundamental OSCE principles of consensus.
Most of the OSCE’s “key events” were canceled or held in “surrogate” format, had a non-consensus and even “undermining” agenda, and rules and procedures were violated and chaos reigned in OSCE managing bodies, said the statement.
The ministry added that Warsaw showed its inability to manage such a responsible position by discrediting itself and “causing irreparable damage to the credibility of the organization as a whole.”
“It has become even clearer that the OSCE is needed by the zealots of the ‘rules-based order’ not as an opportunity for an equal, respectful dialogue on serious issues of European security, but primarily as a platform for politicking shows and anti-Russian exercises, said the ministry.
“They have almost turned the main OSCE institutions into a farce, apparently without thinking whether it will be possible to return them to normalcy.”
The Russian foreign service said Poland also blocked Russia from the work of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly set for Nov. 24-26
“With such destructive decisions, the Poles, with the support of their like-minded people in the Western camp, are pushing the OSCE into the abyss, depriving it of its last chance to show its relevance in strengthening security and establishing cooperation, for which it was created,” it said.
The ministry said that explaining the refusal to issue a visa to Lavrov, a move it called “unprecedented and provocative,” Poland put “EU regulations above the obligations of the OSCE, which is currently the most representative pan-European organization.”
“We are convinced that all sensible politicians share the position of the Russian side on the inadmissibility of such actions and will give them a principled assessment. A corresponding request was sent to all OSCE participating states yesterday,” it said.
The OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting is set for Dec. 1-2 in Lodz, Poland.
Relations between Poland and Russia have been further strained since this February, when Moscow launched a war on the former Soviet state of Ukraine, sending millions of refugees into Poland, a former member of the Warsaw Pact.
On Sunday what is believed to be a Ukrainian missile fell into Poland, killing two people. The missile was likely fired to protect from Russian airstrikes, and the West has blamed Russia for the incident.