OSCE Condemns Russian Aggression on Mariupol and Ukraine

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: March 23, 2022; 22:45 ♦ (Vindobona)

The OSCE Chairman-in-Office Zbigniew Rau and Secretary-General Helga Maria Schmid condemned the ongoing violence that Russian forces committed in Ukraine and the city of Mariupol. Meanwhile Russia's ambassador to the United Nations has denied that Russia was involved in the attack on a theatre in besieged Mariupol.

Aftermath of Russian bombing of an apartment building in Mariupol. Russia frequently frames itself as an innocent victim. / Picture: © Mvs.gov.ua / Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, , via Wikimedia Commons

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for almost a month, and one of the sad scenes of war is the city of Mariupol.

Many Western countries, as well as international organizations, condemn the Russian invasion and especially the siege of Mariupol.

The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau, and Secretary-General Helga Maria Schmid condemned the ongoing violence that Russian forces are perpetrating against civilian areas throughout Ukraine. They specifically condemned the recent bombing of a theatre in Mariupol which harbored hundreds of civilians.

The OSCE Chairman-in-Office Zbigniew Rau said, “We utterly condemn this despicable act, which appears to have deliberately targeted a building clearly marked as sheltering civilians, including children,”

“These deliberate and inhuman attacks on civilian areas must stop – in Mariupol, Irpin, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kyiv, and beyond,” said Secretary-General Schmid and stressed that this, "unconscionable violence and the grave costs it brings to civilian life and infrastructure continue to grow. It has to stop – I cannot stress that enough.”

In an order issued on 16 March 2022, the International Court of Justice imposed provisional measures including that the Russian Federation immediately cease its military operations in Ukraine. Minister Rau and Secretary-General Schmid welcomed the decision.

The U.S. ambassador to the OSCE, Michael Carpenter, condemned the bombing of Mariupol by Russian forces.

In his speech to the OSCE permanent council in Vienna on March 17, 2022, the ambassador condemned ruthless tactics and numerous atrocities committed by the Russian forces against civilians.

The U.S. ambassador condemned the Russian maneuvres to cover up their committed atrocities. The ambassador addressed a speech of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in which Lavrov claimed that “We were told Ukraine was ours, and we will deal with and resolve the future of Ukraine.”

As an answer to Lavrov's claims the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE underlined, "To him I say, Ukraine is not yours. It does not belong to Russia or any other country; it belongs to the Ukrainian people. Ukraine is a sovereign nation, and it will not bend to foreign tyranny. We will support the forces of freedom, and we are confident they will ultimately prevail."

Meanwhile, Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations in New York, has denied that his country was involved in the attack on a theatre in the besieged Ukrainian city.

He has claimed that there was an information war taking place and that Russian source get ignored.

False claims about the invasion have been spread by Russian diplomats, official state media accounts and users in Russia. Russia frequently frames itself as an innocent victim and has pushed disinformation including that the US was providing biological weapons to Ukraine and that victims of an attack on a Ukrainian hospital were paid actors.

OSCE Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

U.S. Mission to the OSCE

Permenant Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations