Ukraine will ‘boycott’ OSCE meeting over Lavrov’s invitation

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Ukraine said Tuesday it will boycott an OSCE meeting in the North Macedonian capital Skopje this week after the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said he plans to attend.

The announcement came the day after Bulgaria said it will open its airspace to the Russian minister, making a diplomatic exemption to European skies being closed to Russia over its Ukraine invasion.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister “Dmytro Kuleba will boycott the OSCE ministerial meeting over the decision to allow Lavrov to attend,” Kyiv’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko told AFP.

Lavrov is under European sanctions and had asked for North Macedonia and neighboring Bulgaria to open their airspace to enable him to fly into Skopje.

The top Russian diplomat said Monday that he plans to travel to Skopje if he will be let through.

“If it works out, we will be there,” he said, according to Russian news agencies.

The annual ministerial conference in Skopje begins on Thursday.

Kyiv has called for Moscow to be excluded from the organization.

“We must work together to save the OSCE from Russia,” Nikolenko said in a later post on social media.

He said Russia should be removed from the OSCE as it “unleashed the largest armed aggression in Europe since the end of WWII.”

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also said Tuesday their top diplomats would not attend the meeting in protest over the invitation to Lavrov.

North Macedonia currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the European security body.

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