A cameraman films the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – OSCE) logo in Vienna.
Moscow – Russia has refused to provide the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) with data on its armed forces as part of a 2011 Vienna document on confidence-building measures. This was reported by the newspaper Kommersant on its website today, citing information from the American side and the statement of the head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks on military security, Konstantin Gavrilov, who justified the Russian decision with reservations about the actions of Western states, including the Czech Republic.
Russia first became aware of its refusal to provide information on the armed forces on January 16 in Gavrilov's letter. He connected the Russian refusal with the decision of the Czech Republic to “suspend its obligations” towards Russia. Russia was also influenced by Ukraine's “refusal to participate in the exchange of information” about the armed forces. In addition, in the letter, Russia accused 29 states, including Britain, Germany, France and Poland, of not providing certain – unspecified – notifications. It claimed that France, Bulgaria and Poland did not invite the Russians to their military bases and that the Netherlands excluded Russia from the list of recipients of the notification, the newspaper wrote.
He added that, according to the United States, Russia's commitment to the Vienna document had weakened long ago, and it was Russia's attitude that was to blame for the failure to move forward with the modernization of the document discussed since 2016. Moscow demanded that NATO in return withdraw from the policy of deterring Russia. Last year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused the OSCE of anti-Russian attitudes and the fact that the Vienna document is only formally valid.
He recalled that the OSCE member states annually exchanged information on the armed forces, defense planning, military budgets and upcoming inspections. The first version of the Vienna document was adopted back in 1990. The OSCE is the largest regional security organization, with 57 member states.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told journalists at the beginning of February during a visit to North Macedonia, which now chairs the organization he said that Russia is systematically blocking the activities of the OSCE. According to him, Russia, which invaded Ukraine a year ago, is blocking the OSCE budget, the next Estonian presidency and will probably also block the organization's new chairman.