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Moscow accuses the West of "threatening the existence" of the OSCE
Russia said on November 29 that Western countries have attempted to bar Russian officials from attending the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is under European sanctions, has requested permission for his plane to fly over European Union airspace in order to attend the two-day meeting in Skopje, which starts on Thursday.
North Macedonia and Bulgaria have allowed the plane of the Russian delegation to pass through their airspace, in order for it to participate in the OSCE meeting.
Ukraine and the Baltic states have said they will not attend the OSCE meeting because of Lavrov's participation. These countries have argued that Russia should not attend the meeting because of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
"We see efforts by a part of the West to do everything possible to prevent the normal participation of our state in this meeting", said the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.
She accused some countries - without naming them - of threatening "the very existence of the organization, just to satisfy their ambitions".
When Poland hosted the OSCE meeting last year, the country did not allow Lavrov to attend, prompting a strong reaction from Moscow.
The skies of Europe are closed to Russian planes because of Russia's war against Ukraine, but Bulgaria and the host of the meeting, North Macedonia, have made an exception only for the flight of this Russian delegation.
The decision by Skopje and Sofia prompted strong reactions in Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, will participate in the meeting in Skopje. Russia has said that a meeting between the American and Russian diplomats is not expected. Meanwhile, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that he will not meet directly with Lavrov./rel