Russia: Exit from Baltic Council not to affect our presence in area
Russia to officially withdraw from the Council of the Baltic Sea States and from the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference as per the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Moscow will withdraw from the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), stressing that the withdrawal will nonetheless not affect Russia's presence in the area.
"In response to hostile actions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a message to envoys of CBSS member states, EU High Representative [Josep Borrell], as well as to the Council Secretariat in Stockholm, notifying them about [Russia’s] withdrawal from the organization. Simultaneously, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation decided to withdraw from the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference," a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website said.
The statement added that "termination of membership in the CBSS will not affect Russia's presence in the region. Attempts to oust our country from the Baltic are doomed to failure."
"We will continue working with responsible partners, hold events on key issues of development of the Baltic Region - our common heritage, and protect the interests of our compatriots."
The Ministry also noted that Western states have "monopolized the Council in their own conjunctural goals," and no perspectives are seen for restoration of the normal operation of the Council, "sinking ever into Russophobia and lies."
It is worth mentioning that days ago, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said that "the Baltic Sea becomes a Nato sea,” following Sweden and Finland's plans to join the NATO alliance.
NATO naval drills
Finland held NATO naval drills in late April. It is now also hosting a joint land exercise in which forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, Estonia, and Latvia are taking part.
Massive military drills are taking place amid rising tensions between Russia, NATO, and some of the military alliance's allies. Finland, which shares a lengthy border with Russia, and Sweden agreed to reexamine their long-standing policy of non-alignment in the aftermath of the war on Ukraine.
The announcement provoked a surge of condemnation from Moscow, which warned that if Finland and Sweden joined NATO, it would have to respond. Moscow also thinks that NATO expansion is a direct danger to national security.