Romania Denying Visas for Russian & Belarusian Delegations Drives Russia to Withdraw From OSCE Assembly

The Romanian authorities have rejected visas of Russian and Belarusian delegations that were expected to attend the annual session of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which was hosted in Bucharest from June 29 to July 3.

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The news was confirmed by Radu Filip, the Romanian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, who pointed out that visas were rejected for all members of the delegation, parliamentarians and technical staff, Schengen.News reports.

This move has caused Russia to not attend the event and to announce it will stop paying its dues. The reason cited for this decision was the discrimination approach of OSCE, as Russian authorities point out.

Russia Accuses the OSCE of Russophobia

In a press release issued by both houses of Russia’s parliament, the reason for the decision to cancel their participation in addition to other announcements is due to “a biased, discriminatory approach, double standards, total Russophobia and lack of readiness for a substantive discussion” on behalf the OSCE Parliament Assembly.

Valentina Matvienko, the Speaker of the Russian Federation Council had ordered to send an informative telegram to the OSCE PA, informing them regarding the latest development.

This would be the third year in a row that Russia has not participated in OSCE PA sessions after it initially did not attend the annual meeting in 2022. In April, the Duma decided to suspend contributions to the OSCE PA for 2023.

Romania Rejects Russian Delegation Visas in Solidarity With Ukraine

Since Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, which happened in 2022, the EU has increasingly imposed strict measures, including here restrictions on movement.

Currently, there are many EU countries that do not even accept visas from Russian nationals while the number of expelled Russian diplomats has also been on the rise.

According to data by Statista, the number of expelled Russian diplomats has surged ever since the war in Ukraine began. Bulgaria has the highest change, expelling 90 diplomats between 2022 and 2023. Before the war, Bulgaria expelled seven Russian diplomats.

Romania, on the other hand, expelled 25 diplomats in the post-war period, while between 2000 and 2021, only three diplomats had been expelled in over a decade. The US has an opposite trend, expelling fewer diplomats in the 2022-2023 period compared to 2000 to 2021.

As of September of 2023, the total number of Russian diplomats expelled from the EU/EUA countries has reached 638.