Baltic countries boycott OSCE meeting over Russian invitation

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Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are set to boycott this week's meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, after it became clear the Russian foreign minister would be attending.

Foreign ministers from the Baltic nations made their announcement Tuesday after Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said he planned to attend the meeting in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje.

In a joint statement, the Baltic officials said that Lavrov's attendance "risks legitimising the aggressor Russia as a full member of our community of free nations".

According to Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, "Russia will use this opportunity to spread its propaganda and undermine the unity of the West".

Also staying away is Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who "will boycott the OSCE ministerial meeting following the decision to authorise Lavrov to attend", according to Ukrainian diplomatic spokesman Oleg Nikolenko.

These statements come a day after Bulgaria announced that it would allow Lavrov's plane to fly over its airspace so that he could attend the OSCE meeting in the Macedonian capital, despite European sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.