Moscow says Russian delegation denied UK visas for OSCE assembly

MOSCOW (AFP): Moscow on Wednesday accused Britain of preventing Russia from attending the next OSCE Parliamentary Assembly that will take place in Birmingham by refusing visas to members of the Russian delegation.

Because members of the delegation are under UK sanctions, Russia had “ahead of time” requested “to resolve the issue of providing guarantees from the British side that visas will be issued,” Russian lawmaker and delegation member Vladimir Dzhabarov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

“We received an outrageous response that the British government — literally — cannot issue visas to members of the Russian delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly whatever their reason for visiting the country,” he added.

Dzhabarov, deputy head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said that Russia sent a latter to all other delegations stating the “exclusion of the Russian delegation seriously damages the credibility of the event”.

“All decisions adopted in our absence, including the final declaration, will not be recognised by us as legitimate,” this letter said, according to Dzhabarov.

The 29th annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will take place in Birmingham between 2-6 July. This will be the first annual session to take place in person since 2019, the previous two taking place remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.