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OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajcak says that special attention will be given to the situation in and around Ukraine.

"If there is any way to immediately alleviate the situation for people on the ground, we must take it," he said at the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, Austria, on January 10, 2019, the OSCE said in a press release.

He said he would focus on opportunities for dialogue.

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He reminded the OSCE Permanent Council of the need for ongoing support to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and announced his visit to Ukraine next week.

As the News Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR) reported, Lajcak said that the first thing that Slovakia wants to aim at within the OSCE is to prevent and mitigate the consequences of conflicts. The main cause for concern is, among other frozen conflicts, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the illegal occupation of Crimea and the situation in the Kerch Strait. "It's a bleak situation, there's no doubt about it, but condemnation won't change anything by itself," he said.

Lajcak pointed out that it is less than 60 km from Vienna to Bratislava, and then only around 380 km from Bratislava to the border with Ukraine, which is in an armed conflict with Russia.

"And what's happening there – in Ukraine and its surroundings – is simply unacceptable. I can assure you that Slovakia feels the urgency of this matter," he said.

Slovakia took over the OSCE chairmanship from Italy on January 1 for the next 12 months.