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SKOPJE: Russia on Friday expressed indifference over the future of the world’s largest regional security organisation, which was grinding ahead with a summit overshadowed by Ukraine war tensions.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is intended as a forum for East-West blocs, but Ukraine and key allies have boycotted the Skopje talks over Russia’s attendance.

Moscow is a member of the 57-nation body that has been struggling to survive with Russia blocking key decisions, including its budget.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who attended the two-day summit, voiced criticism of the group but also lack of concern over its existence.

“This is the main feeling: indifference. The organisation (OSCE) has already turned itself into something that makes me indifferent to what will happen to it next,” Lavrov told reporters.

Russia’s 20-month-old invasion of Ukraine sparked fierce criticism from participants of the Skopje conference.

OSCE meeting starts, amid controversy over Russia

“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine flies in the face of all this organisation holds dear,” said Bujar Osmani, North Macedonia’s foreign minister and OSCE chairman in office, during opening remarks at the start of the summit.

Lavrov on Friday noted: “I don’t care about the results of this OSCE meeting.”

In his Thursday’s address the Russian minister said the OSCE was becoming an “appendage” of the NATO alliance and the European Union.

“The organisation, let’s face it, is on the edge of a precipice.

A simple question arises: does it make sense to invest in its revitalisation?“

Created in 1975 as a forum for dialogue between the Eastern and Western blocs, the OSCE has been struggling to operate as Russia’s war in Ukraine has unleashed a torrent of tension in the organisation.

The conference in Skopje is boycotted by Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, with the latter saying Russia’s presence was “unacceptable”.

Ukraine wants the OSCE to expel Russia, as the Council of Europe has done, warning the body faced a “slow death”.

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