Swiss OSCE chief to attend Ukraine leader’s inauguration
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, who chairs European security body the OSCE, will attend the inauguration of Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko later this week, his office announced Thursday.
With Switzerland at the helm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2014, the neutral nation has been at the forefront of efforts to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.
Burkhalter, who holds the rotating post of Swiss leader this year, is also the Alpine country’s foreign minister.
The Swiss government said Burkhalter also planned to hold political consultations with Poroshenko as well as attending his inauguration ceremony in Kiev on Saturday.
Western nations have accused Russia of piloting an insurgency in Ukraine in the wake of the February ouster of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych.
Moscow annexed Ukraine’s strategic Black Sea province of Crimea in March, after a referendum organised by pro-Kremlin separatists backed joining Russia in a move rejected by the West.
Eastern Ukraine, where the population is mainly ethnic Russian, then plunged into violence as insurgents in a string of communities declared independence from Kiev, sparking a government offensive.
The showdown has taken East-West ties to their lowest ebb since the Cold War.