Photo for illustration purposes.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have asked the OSCE to set up a meeting with Belarus and other stakeholders in the framework of the Vienna Document. They demanded that Belarus provide more information about its large-scale joint military drills with Russia, which began on 10 February 2022. On 9 February, the three Baltic countries asked Belarus for explanations about the unusual and unplanned deployment of troops on the territory of Belarus, use of military equipment in the drills and planned return of troops to their permanent deployment locations. On 11 February, Belarus responded to the request, but Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia considered it unsatisfactory.

A similar request was sent by Ukraine to Russia. Vienna Document meetings were supposed to take place on 14 and 15 February 2022, respectively, but Belarus did not provide any information, and Russia refused to participate.

France, on behalf of the European Union, called on Belarus to ensure full transparency of its military activities and activities of the Russian armed forces on its territory near Ukraine. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement that Russia’s refusal to participate in the OSCE process demonstrates its contempt for the commitments it has voluntarily signed.

The 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures stipulates that countries inform each other about military activities if they involve more than 9,000 people, including supporting troops. According to the document, an OSCE participating state that has concerns about unusual military activities has the right to submit a request for clarification.