Even ahead of the meeting, the OSCE had come under intense criticism for allowing the presence of a delegation from aggressor state Russia which included sanctioned individuals. OSCE delegations from Ukraine and Lithuania chose not to attend rather than sit alongside the Russians, whereas Latvian representative Kols chose to stand his ground and deliver and excoriating speech directed towards both the OSCE's weak stance and the Russian delegation itself.
"There's an elephant in this room which is called by the name of the Russian Federation delegation. If I were a witness and somebody asked me: 'Who is a war criminal?' Well, I would point to the back benches in this room. It's just a disgrace. It's a disgrace that this delegation is here, particularly the delegation that consists of sanctioned individuals who voted to annex independent countries' territories... those are the principles this institution was vouched to protect and guard! And we are sitting like nothing happened!"
He signed off with a famous quotation that may not be considered classically diplomatic but was nevertheless perfectly suited to the occasion: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself." You can watch his intervention in the video clip below.
To the disgrace that is the presence of the #Russian delegation of sanctioned war criminals at the @oscepa, I can only repeat what #Ukrainian border guards so eloquently put nearly a year ago when addressing a particular Russian warship. #OSCEPA #OSCE pic.twitter.com/FQxEXSGvpN— Rihards Kols (@RihardsKols) February 23, 2023
When it was the Russian delegation's turn to speak there was a mass walkout.