Russia suspended from Council of the Baltic Sea States

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The members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the European Union – have decided to suspend Russia from further participation in the Council’s activities in response to the unprovoked and illegal war now being waged by Russia against Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and the country's authorities.

Russia’s military attack on a free and independent country is also an assault on democracy and our values. Russia’s actions violate the fundamental principles for cooperation within the Council, which are based on respect for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter and other OSCE documents highlighted in the Council’s founding policy document of 1992. Belarus has observer status on the Council and is being suspended because of its role in the attack.

‘It is deeply regrettable that Russia has created a situation where we, the other 11 members, no longer find it possible to maintain cooperation with Russia within the framework of the CBSS. Russia is one of the co-founders of the Council and has played an active role until now,’ said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt, who is currently leading the CBSS cooperation. Norway has held the Presidency of the Council since July 2021.

The suspension of Russia will remain in force until it is possible to resume cooperation based on respect for fundamental principles of international law. Ukraine and Belarus are both among the countries that have observer status on the Council. Belarus is now being suspended from participating in CBSS activities.

Since 2014, following Russia’s aggression and illegal takeover of Ukrainian territory and military support to rebels in eastern Ukraine, the annual Council meeting at foreign minister level has not been held. However, since 2017, the foreign ministers have held meetings to maintain some degree of political dialogue and practical cooperation. This year marks the Council’s 30th anniversary, but in the current circumstances there is little point in carrying out the celebratory event as planned.