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Russia will not take part in OSCE meeting on drills in Belarus — delegation’s head

The event is scheduled to be held in Vienna on February 16

VIENNA, February 16. /TASS/. Russia will not participate in the upcoming joint meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council and the Forum for Security Cooperation on "unusual military activities" in Belarus, which has been initiated by the Baltic states, head of the Russian delegation to the Vienna talks on military security and arms control Konstantin Gavrilov told TASS on Wednesday.

"We will not attend the meeting," he said, adding that the event was scheduled to be held in Vienna at 3:00 pm local time.

Gavrilov added that Russia would not take part in a similar joint meeting on the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border that was expected to be held at Kiev’s request.

Poland’s OSCE Chairmanship announced earlier that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had requested a meeting of all participating states regarding "unusual military activities" in Belarus. On Monday, the OSCE held consultations on the matter, initiated by the three Baltic nations based on the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures. The Belarusian delegation said in a statement that Minsk was not engaged in any significant military activity that required prior notification and did not consider the use of the Vienna Document mechanism to be justified.