Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated on Thursday that an investigation is currently being conducted in Moscow into allegations that OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) established a former special monitoring mission (SMM) was involved in the preparation of armed actions by Ukraine in Donbas.
Fifty-seven countries are participating in the OSCE, formerly the CSCE (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe). The SMM of the OSCE to Ukraine began operations on 21 March 2014 and will conclude operations on 31 March 2022. The SMM was a civilian, unarmed mission operating 24/7 on the ground in Ukraine. Its primary responsibilities were to observe and report impartially and objectively on the security situation in Ukraine and to foster discussion between all conflicting parties.
Lavrov remarked at a news conference in Minsk that the work of the mission was “clearly distorted” after meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Sergey Aleinik.
In addition, he stated that there are now grounds for Moscow to suspect the mission’s active involvement in the planning and execution of military operations against civilians.
Lavrov repeated what Aleinik had said, asserting that the OSCE is moving further away from the principles that were included in the Helsinki Final Act in the OSCE summits that followed.
In addition, he voiced his concern to Aleinik on NATO’s expansion to the borders of Russia and Belarus, which he believes would lead to an increase in both military and political tension that cannot continue without a response from our side.
“We have a common opinion that the so-called collective West has actually turned Ukraine into a foothold for further military and political development of the post-Soviet space, a foothold for subversive activities against the Union State, and is directly pushing Kyiv towards creating direct threats to the vital interests of Russia and Belarus.”
He emphasised that one of Moscow and Minsk’s remedies to NATO’s expansion would be strengthening the joint armed group on Belarusian soil beginning in October 2022. This would be done in response to NATO’s expansion into new countries.
Lavrov expressed hope that one day “reasonable people” will come to power in Europe, calling the current authorities “people who put their irrepressible political ambitions…their colonial and neocolonial dreams and illusions above the interests of their own peoples.”
“I hope that sobering up will come. At the very least, we will do everything so that our colleagues from NATO and the European Union sober up as soon as possible,” he said.
In addition to this, he gave his support to the request made by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to hold a security summit under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).