Global Look Press / Sopa Images / Omar Marques
© Global Look Press / Sopa Images / Omar MarquesFILE PHOTO.
Statements by the organization no longer reflect the consensus of its members, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said

The leadership of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as some of its executive bodies, have deviated from their mandate, Russian Foreign Ministry officials told RIA Novosti on Sunday. In particular, the body has been "turning a blind eye to blatant violations" committed by Ukrainian authorities and their Western backers, the ministry said.

The comments follow reports about a possible suspension of Russian participation in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In early February, Moscow's permanent representative to the organization, Aleksandr Volgarev, told the OSCE Permanent Council that Russia would not take part in the assembly's winter session. It was held on February 22-23 in Vienna.

"Reneging on dialogue is not part of the Russian diplomatic tradition," Volgarev said, adding that Moscow sees "no added value in fruitless debates" where participants just "exercise in Russophobia and swearing instead of seeking a solution" to various pressing issues.

According to RIA Novosti, Russian lawmakers have considered suspending payments to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Such a decision has not been taken yet, the first deputy head of the Russian State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, Dmitry Novikov, told the news agency on Sunday. The move is to be coordinated by both houses of the Russian parliament, he explained.

Moscow already stopped its payments to the OSCE itself after its delegation was denied access to the organization's meetings on several occasions. "We should not pay for something we did not participate in," the State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said at the time.

In November 2022, Poland denied visas to Russian officials scheduled to attend an OSCE meeting in Warsaw. And in June 2022, Russian MPs were barred from traveling to the UK to participate in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Birmingham.

In February, Volgarev said that Moscow would not resume its payments until given "solid guarantees" that Russian delegates would have access to all the organization's events and their security would be ensured.

The Russian Foreign Ministry nevertheless denied on Sunday that Moscow had fully broken ties. "We continue to fully engage in political discussions [within] the OSCE and get Russia's point across to the broader audience... [and] combat the Western and Ukrainian disinformation," it said.

Russia has been a participant in the OSCE since the Soviet Union signed the Helsinki Accords in 1975. The organization's monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine began in 2014 but was pulled out just prior to the beginning of Russia's military operation in February 2022. Russia had previously repeatedly accused the group of ignoring violations by Kiev.

Having held its first session back in 1992, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly incorporates 57 member states, and declares as its primary mission the facilitation of "inter-parliamentary dialogue to advance the OSCE's goals of comprehensive security."