Foreign Ministry Statement on the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Council of the Baltic Sea States

The situation at the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) has been deteriorating.  The NATO and EU members of the CBSS have turned their backs on equitable dialogue and the principles upon which this regional Baltic organisation was built, and have consistently turned it into an anti-Russia political tool. Unlawful and discriminatory decisions are approved in violation of the consensus rule.  Russia has been “excluded” from participating in CBSS work and projects. Belarus’ observer status with the CBSS has been “suspended.”

Differences within the CBSS have been brewing for quite some time. Our erstwhile partners were attempting to politicise the Council’s activities and to bring ideology into its work. We, for our part, were trying to move cooperation in a practical direction, prioritising the goal of sustainable socioeconomic development of the Baltic region.  Regrettably, the destructive way of thinking of our counterparts ultimately prevailed.

The Western countries – there is no reason to be coy – have monopolised the Council for their self-seeking purposes and are planning to organise its work to the detriment of Russian interests. Extraregional problems are being imported to the Baltic area, pressure is being brought to bear on those interested in continuing full-scale cooperation, and the entirety of what has been done in recent years, not to mention stability in the region, is now in jeopardy.  A CBSS ministerial session without Russian participation has been scheduled for May 25 in Kristiansand, Norway. Russia’s contribution to the CBSS budget has in fact been stolen: they are not going to pay it back, under the pretext of sanctions.  

Under these circumstances, there are no prospects of resuming normal work at the Council, which is increasingly bogged down in Russophobia and lies. We regard Russia’s further presence in the CBSS as inexpedient and counterproductive. Russia will not participate in their effort to turn this organisation into yet another venue for subversion and “Western navel-gazing.”   

In response to these hostile actions, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov has sent messages to the ministers of the CBSS member countries, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and to the CBSS Secretariat in Stockholm, notifying them of Russia’s withdrawal from the organisation.  Simultaneously, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation has approved the decision to withdraw from the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference.

Terminating Russia’s CBSS membership will not affect its presence in the region. Any attempts to oust the country from the Baltic area are doomed to failure. We will continue to work with responsible partners, hold events on the key issues pertaining to the development of the Baltic region, our common heritage, and protect the interests of our compatriots.    

The current state of the CBSS is the responsibility of those who destroyed its foundations.

Source: Pressemitteilungen – Botschaft der Russischen Föderation