By denying entry to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Poland has discredited itself, Russia says
Warsaw's decision to ban Moscow's top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, from attending a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Lodz next month is unacceptable and provocative, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
The statement came the day after Warsaw confirmed that it would deny entry to EU-sanctioned Russian officials, including Lavrov.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, through this "unprecedented and provocative" move, Warsaw, which currently chairs the OSCE, has "not only discredited itself, but also caused irreparable damage to the authority of the entire Organization."
Throughout its chairmanship, Poland has been "enthusiastically destroying" the OSCE's foundations, including "consensus culture," the ministry said, and the "unacceptable attack against Russia" represents a culmination of this "anti-presidency."
Pointing out that Poland also denied entry to Russian officials for the organization's autumn meeting, the ministry claimed that Warsaw and its Western allies "are pushing the OSCE into the abyss."
"We are convinced that all sane politicians share Russia's view regarding the unacceptability of such actions and will assess them in a principled way," it added.
Ahead of the OSCE's July meeting in Birmingham, UK, the British authorities, in line with the sanctions imposed on Moscow due to its military operation in Ukraine, also rejected visas for members of Russia's delegation.
Moscow has participated in the OSCE since the Soviet Union signed the organization's first agreement - the Helsinki Accords - in 1975. Its monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine began in 2014, but was withdrawn just prior to the beginning of the Russian offensive. Moscow had repeatedly accused the mission of ignoring violations committed by Kiev.