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Russia’s Lavrov Asserts Unchanging Goals in Ukraine at Security Talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it clear to Western leaders that his country’s objectives in Ukraine remain steadfast. Speaking at an international security conference hosted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in North Macedonia, Lavrov stated that Russia sees no reason to reconsider its goals. He criticized Kyiv and its allies for their lack of commitment to a political settlement.

Lavrov’s attendance at the conference was made possible by North Macedonia, a NATO member since 2020, which lifted a ban on Russian officials. This decision prompted top diplomats from Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to boycott the event in protest. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also made a brief visit to Skopje, North Macedonia’s capital, before Lavrov’s arrival.

Credit: DepositPhotos

During the conference, participants accused Russia of undermining the OSCE through its actions in Ukraine. The OSCE, originally established to ease tensions during the Cold War, comprises 57 member countries from North America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union.

Latvia’s representative to the organization, Ambassador Katrina Kaktina, accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine, including deliberate killings, forced deportations, torture, and sexual violence.

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In Skopje, Lavrov engaged in bilateral meetings with several foreign ministers, including those from North Macedonia, Armenia, and Hungary, which maintains close ties with Moscow despite EU sanctions on Russia.

Lavrov criticized diplomats from other Western countries for their refusal to meet with him, labeling it cowardly and suggesting they lack the courage for honest conversations.

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Credit: DepositPhotos

Despite objections from Russia, North Macedonia managed to overcome obstacles and successfully concluded the OSCE meeting. The participants voted to pass the presidency of the organization to Malta, bypassing Moscow’s objections that had previously hindered Estonia’s bid. Malta will assume the OSCE presidency on January 1.

North Macedonia’s foreign minister, Bujar Osmani, expressed relief at the outcome, stating that the OSCE has been saved and its functionality secured.

Furthermore, the OSCE Secretary-General, Helga Schmid, along with three other senior executives, including OSCE Secretary-General Helga Schmid, were confirmed for new three-year terms at the organization.

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