Europe's largest security organisation opened a meeting Thursday with foreign ministers and other representatives strongly denouncing Russia's war against Ukraine, a conflict that is among the greatest challenges the body has faced in its nearly half-century of existence.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which was founded to maintain peace and stability on the continent, has been a rare international forum — along with the United Nations — where Russia and Western powers have been able to meet to discuss security matters.
The two-day meeting in Lodz, Poland, is the first such high-level meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Polish president Andrzej Duda addressed the 29th OSCE Ministerial Council, 57 representatives of OSCE countries are participating in the event.
"Those responsible for the crime of aggression, for war crimes against humanity and for genocide must be held accountable, absolutely," said Duda.
"Only in this way we can restore peace in Europe and prevent acts of aggression in the future.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I assure our Macedonian friends, who will take over the OSCE presidency with the New Year, that we support the successful mission of the organisation" he added.
But since the war began, the 57-nation body has also become another venue where the bitter clash between Russia and the West has played out, exposing the organisation's own inadequacies in helping to resolve the conflict.
Notably absent was Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was banned by Poland from entering the country.
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