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OSCE demands immediate end to Russia's war against Ukraine

VIENNA, Feb 24 (KUNA) -- The Organization of Security and Coopration in Europe (OSCE) on Saturday called on Russia to immediately halt the war against Ukraine.
The OSCE said in a statement, "Today, as we mark the second year of Russia's full scale war against Ukraine, the OSCE Troika - Chair-in-Office of the OSCE and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta Ian Borg, Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Elina Valtonen - and OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid call on Russia to immediately stop its war against Ukraine and to respect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. "Throughout Malta's Chairpersonship of the OSCE, Ukraine will remain a priority," said Chair-in-Office Minister Ian Borg, adding that "Russia's illegal war of aggression against Ukraine has not only undermined peace and stability across the OSCE region, but also set a concerning precedent for global security and the international rules-based order." Minister Borg reiterated his pledge to maintain the OSCE's support to Ukraine in addressing and mitigating the fallout of the aggression. Highlighting this commitment, Minister Borg's recent visit to Kyiv conveyed a resolute message of enduring determination and willingness to further deepen cooperation between Ukraine and the OSCE. Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani added "This war is not waged only on the battlefield. Ukrainians are its immediate victims but the consequences go beyond; they are widespread and complex.
"Today, the very essence of human dignity and freedom has been challenged. Here, at the OSCE, we must continue exposing Russia and condemning its illegal and unjustified aggression, to request for its immediate cessation and to hold those responsible to account. We have a duty to join and effectively support the struggle of all those defending freedom, democracy and justice." In her remarks, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Elina Valtonen reiterated Finland's respect for and admiration of the courage, resistance and perseverance of Ukraine and its people, adding that Ukraine will remain at the centre of the work in the OSCE also during the Finnish Chairpersonship in 2025.
"Finland is dedicated to ensuring full accountability for Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine," stated Minister Valtonen, recalling that three Moscow Mechanisms have so far been invoked to investigate the impact of the war.
Minister Valtonen also added that Finland will work in the International Coalition, convened by Ukraine and Canada, for the return of Ukrainian children who have been unlawfully deported or forcefully transferred by Russia in violation of their rights, and of international law. Secretary General Schmid said "these have been two years of death and tragedy which have caused unbearable suffering to so many innocent civilians. Among them are three OSCE colleagues who have been detained in Donetsk and Luhansk for almost 700 days now. I reiterate our call for their immediate return to their families and will continue to use every channel and every opportunity to secure their release". The OSCE continues to support the people, government, and civil society of Ukraine, through the Support Programme for Ukraine, financed by extrabudgetary funding from the participating States. The Programme implements 20 projects with Ukrainian partners to mitigate the impact of the war. The OSCE Troika was established at the Helsinki Summit in 1992 to bring continuity to the Organization's leadership. It is a format of co-operation between the present, previous and incoming Chairpersonships. (end) amq.rk