Poland Refuses to Grant Visas to Russian Officials for Attending OSCE Meeting on Dec. 1-2

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The government of Poland will not issue Schengen visas to officials from the Russian Federation for attending a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) set to be held in the city of Łódź in Poland on December 1 and 2.

The decision has been confirmed by the spokesperson of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lukasz Jasina.

We are not giving them visas,” Jasina said.

The Foreign Ministry of Russia has reacted to the decision, calling it “an unprecedented and inflammatory step” and claiming that it violates the OSCE Rules of Procedure and decisions of its policy-making bodies.

In a statement issued following Poland’s decision, the Russian MFA has accused the same of “destroying the foundations of the OSCE” in the past year, calling the country “incapable” of holding the OSCE Chairmanship.

Polish authorities prevent the organisation from fulfilling its functions effectively: first, they denied Russian parliamentarians the opportunity to participate in an autumn session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (Warsaw, November 24-26), and now they grossly violated our delegation’s rights at the ministerial meeting,” the Russian MFA says in its statement.

It further adds that Poland is “pushing the OSCE into the abyss”, preventing it from working for the main objectives for which it was established, which are security enhancement and the promotion of cooperation between the participating countries.

The Ministry has also shown its belief that other politicians in the OSCE will support Russia’s position in this case, and in order to prove this, the Ministry has sent a corresponding inquiry to all OSCE member states on November 18.

The Polish Chairmanship of the OSCE has responded to the statement by publishing a photo of a ruined building in Ukraine by Russian strikes calling the invasion “an unprovoked full-scale war”.

The decision by Russia, as a participating State of the OSCE, to wage an unprovoked full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine is an unprecedented step. During all of this year, instead of working to strengthen the OSCE, Moscow has persistently destroyed its foundations,” reads a tweet published together with the picture in the official account of the Polish OSCE Chairmanship 2022

Poland has been one of the loudest supporters of sanctions on Russia due to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24 of this year. On September 26, the Polish authorities banned from entering its territory all Russian citizens, including those already holding valid Schengen visas. Poland had already stopped issuing Schengen visas in Russia on September 19, together with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

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