Lithuania has been angered by the ban of Serbia, as the presiding country of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to open an exhibition on Crimea in Vienna in an effort to mark one year since the region's annexation.
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During the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in the Austrian capital, the Lithuanian and Ukrainian missions intended to put on a photograph exhibition on Crimea by Lithuanian Ambassador Petras Vaitiekūnas, Lithuanian diplomats say. A famous jazz musician from Crimea was to perform during the opening.

"The Serbian OSCE Presidency and the OSCE secretary general did not sanction the exhibition in the OSCE building. This is the first time in OSCE history when a ban is placed on an exhibition intended to draw attention to gross violations of human rights," the Foreign Ministry's spokesman Kęstutis Vaškelevičius told BNS on Thursday.

In his words, the exhibition was intended to mark a one-year anniversary of the Russian occupation of Crimea.

In a press release circulated on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said it was "unacceptable for entire organization to be hostage to caprices of one delegation, Russia".

According to the press release, the photographs feature military equipment without identification signs, "little green men" entering administrative buildings, Crimean rallies of unity with Ukraine and Russia's aggressive information campaign.

"The exhibition was aimed at drawing the attention of OSCE representatives to the unlawful occupation and annexation of the Crimean peninsula and related violations of human rights," the ministry said.

In a brief comment to BNS, the OSCE press service said: "The exhibition was not refused, but postponed. There are pending consultations with all the participating states."

BNS
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