Why Last Week Was Internationally Successful for Ukraine

Monday, 4 December 2023

Worked up Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the final press conference on Friday best demonstrated that he was not satisfied with his trip to Skopje for the OSCE meeting.

Ukraine, however, achieved two significant international victories last week.

Read more in the article by Sergiy Sydorenko, EuroPravda's editor (from North Macedonia): Not Only OSCE: Three Diplomatic Victories of Ukraine over Russia within a Week.

For the first time in its history, Russia lost its seat on the board of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) .

The Ukrainian and Lithuanian foreign ministers were standing behind this victory.

This defeat was so unexpected for Moscow that they contemplated until the next day to come out with a statement. They couldn't admit their defeat against Lithuania and Ukraine. So Lavrov declared a global conspiracy against Russia. According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their defeat at the OPCW had been caused by "unprecedented political pressure, financial and economic blackmail, and all too often, outright threats from the 'collective West' to member states that might support our country".

The real reason, however, is Russia's wishful thinking.

When the ministerial meeting in Skopje was coming to an end, Ukraine learned about one more diplomatic victory. Russia had lost the election in the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be proud of the "chemical" victory, the "maritime" victory goes to the president's office. The video address by Ukraine's President on 27 November was crucial. It became possible due to an agreement with the current IMO chair – Saudi Arabia. That is why Ukraine was strategy developing good relations with Saudis after Russia's full-scale invasion.

Russia understood the threat of losing its position and fought to keep it but failed.

Let's move on to the main diplomatic event.

There are sometimes justified claims against international structures. Many of them are not in line with current realities and need to be changed. Some of them need to be changed from within by achieving small and large diplomatic victories over the aggressor. It is necessary to sometimes break existing rules. That's exactly what Ukraine is doing in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the current OSCE chair, Bujar Osmani, was happy and festive on Friday night. He achieved what he wanted, which is to end his chair and ensure that OSCE will not collapse during his term.

The agreement package included Malta as the new Chair and four OSCE leaders keeping their positions for the next 9 months. Russia, which wanted to make this term shorter, lacked arguments, as it itself brought the situation to a standstill. Due to Russia's ultimatums and the uncertainty of its actions, OSCE could not begin the search for candidates in advance.

Ukrainian diplomats admit that this is not desired by Kyiv victory. It is more like a "diplomatic draw" or a tactical, temporary defeat for Russia. The organisation will face a new crisis in 9 months.

"The Russians have 'hung' OSCE on the hook for these 9 months. Their weight has increased during this time and everyone will have to consult with them. Considering that we seek to completely isolate the Russians, this is negative for Ukraine," says Yevhen Tsymbaliuk, Ukraine's permanent representative to OSCE.

But there is no positive news for Russia in the current decision.

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