VIENNA, April 30 (UPI) -- The Russian government dropped out of Wednesday's scheduled OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna, where delegates planned to discuss Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Russia's Permanent Representatives to the OSCE, Andrei Kelin, explained that his government didn't see the point of participating and explaining its military actions by Ukraine's border.
"We see no point in doing this because I said this morning at a meeting of the Permanent Council that military exercises had been held but as soon as the Kiev authorities said that they would not use the Armed Forces against the people, the Russian units were withdrawn to their permanent bases away from the Russian-Ukrainian border."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in an interview with Russia Today, reiterated Russia's assertion that the military dills along Ukraine's border do not portend a Russian invasion but "are conducted regularly since Sergei Shoigu was appointed defence minister... However, if we are attacked, we will respond by all means."
American Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel Baer tweeted a photo of the Russian delegation's empty chair at Wednesday's session on Ukraine, with the caption "Russia claims nothing to hide, but runs and hides instead of responding to questions about military activities at the OSCE meeting."