Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zilenskiy asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation to do more on Ukrainians’ claims that they were deported to Russia and what happens to them once they are inside the country.
Bujar Osmani is the minister of North Macedonia’s Foreign Affairs and the 2023 OSCE Chair-in-Office. Zelenskiy said that the two discussed how to make the OSCE more effective.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine and its allies have accused Russia of large-scale deportation.
According to the US State Department, between 900,000.00 and 1.6 Million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, were deported last year into Russian territory.
Russia denies that deportations are being made and claims those who arrive in Russia are refugees from war. The Russian emergency ministry reported that 4.8 million Ukrainians had arrived in Russia, including 112,000 children, since February.
Zelenskiy stated in his nightly video address that the OSCE could significantly increase its attention and take appropriate action regarding deportation of our citizens from the occupied territories to Russia.
“No international organization has yet been able to gain access at the detention centres of Russian prisoners. This needs to be rectified.”
The National Information Bureau of Ukraine, which tracks missing or displaced children, reports that nearly 14,000 children were deported as of 16 January.
The OSCE is the largest regional security organization in the world, with 57 members. It brings together the United States, all European countries, Russia, and all former Soviet Union states.
Russia attempted to undermine the organization by claiming in December that it was losing its meaning and focusing less on security-related matters. It has blocked the OSCE budget from being adopted.
After Moscow refused to extend its mandates to the OSCE’s field operations in Ukraine, the OSCE was forced to shut down its monitoring mission.
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