Dozens of civilized countries are trying to prevent Russia's participation in the OSCE meeting

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Dozens of civilized countries are trying to prevent Russia's participation in the OSCE meeting

Parliamentarians from 20 countries called on Austria to ban Russian delegates to attend an OSCE meeting later this month.

According to a letter received by AFP on Thursday, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will be held in Vienna on February 23-24, the anniversary of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Members of the national parliaments of 15 EU countries, as well as Canada, Georgia, Iceland, Great Britain and Ukraine itself opposed Russia's participation in this meeting, urging Austria to ban the entry of their delegation.

In a letter sent to the Austrian government, they stated that Russia was using the meeting to “spread disinformation, fake news and hate speech.”

“The participation of Russian parliamentarians in the Vienna session … will be perceived in Russia as its indirect legitimization and part of the return to “business as usual,” the letter says.

“Russia will believe that it can achieve its military goals without the risk of ostracism, isolation and international sanctions,” the parliamentarians say.

The letter notes that last year the UK and Poland blocked the participation of Russian delegates in OSCE parliamentary meetings in these two countries.

Ukraine's Ambassador to the OSCE, Yevgeny Tsymbalyuk, said in a statement sent to AFP that Russia should be denied “the opportunity to put on a big propaganda show.”

Austria , where the OSCE and many other international organizations are based, “obliged under international law to grant entry to delegates from all OSCE participating countries,” an Austrian foreign ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

“This not an invitation from Austria, but a formal meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly… The EU sanctions provide for an exception to the entry ban for precisely such cases,” she said.

But she added that entry was permitted “exclusively for the purpose of attending the meeting.” She confirmed that Austria had received this letter.

Prepared by: Nina Petrovich

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