Prior to the annual OSCE Ministerial Council on 3-4 December, a meeting of the Group of Friends of Ukraine with the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev was held on Lithuania's initiative, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
© Reuters/Scanpix

During the event, the Ukrainian, Swedish, Norwegian, Turkish and Canadian foreign ministers, high-ranking officials form the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland and Romania drew attention to the alarming human rights situation in the Russian-annexed Crimea and called on Russia to provide access to international human rights missions to the peninsula.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius, who chaired the meeting, called on the OSCE to maintain its political attention on the Crimean issue.

"We cannot forget the fact that Russia has annexed the Crimean peninsula. Neither can we ignore reports of the OSCE institutions, which documented widespread human rights violations in Crimea, especially Russia's repressive policies against members of the indigenous Crimean Tatar community. We need to open a serious discussion on the OSCE's greater involvement in Crimea in order to carry out an independent monitoring of the human rights situation," stressed the head of Lithuania's diplomacy.

Lithuania's foreign minister also reminded that Lithuania did not recognise the annexation of Crimea and strongly supported the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The OSCE's informal Group of Friends of Ukraine consists of representatives from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

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