Ukraine war hampers Baltic security long-term - Council of the Baltic Sea States

  • 2022-05-26
  • LETA/FP/TBT Staff

OSLO - Russia's invasion of Ukraine will have a "long-term negative impact" on security around the Baltic Sea, the Council of the Baltic Sea States said Wednesday.

"The Russian aggression is entirely incompatible with the cooperative model of international relations in the Baltic Sea Region, has a long-term negative impact on regional security, and is contrary to the rules-based international order," the foreign ministers of the council's member states said in a joint statement.

Foreign ministers of countries in the Council of the Baltic Sea States made the joint statement at their first meeting in nine years.

The organization last met in 2013 as meetings were suspended after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. Russia did not participate in this week's meeting as its membership in the council was suspended on March 3 and on May 17 Russia withdrew from the organization. 

"The Council's relations with Russia and Belarus will remain severed until cooperation under the fundamental principles of international law has become possible again," the foreign ministers added.

The heads of diplomacy of 10 countries bordering the Baltic Sea -- Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden -- met on Tuesday and Wednesday in Kristiansand in southern Norway, accompanied by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The group reiterated its support for Ukraine, with ministers saying they were "ready to engage in a strong partnership of cooperation and reconstruction."

In addition, they gave their backing for investigations into alleged war crimes and stressed that "Russia and its accomplice Belarus bear full responsibility for the war of aggression".

Last week, two Baltic states, Finland and Sweden -- the only remaining non-NATO members of the Council -- officially applied to join the trans-Atlantic military alliance.

The Baltic region has also seen increased military activity in recent weeks, with major exercises in Denmark, Estonia, Poland and Sweden in May alone.