Russia announced its withdrawal from the Baltic Sea States Council on Tuesday, 17th May 2022, citing escalating tensions with the West over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
The organization is a regional political forum that brings together 11 member states, including Germany, Finland, and Norway, as well as the European Union.
The organization was becoming “an instrument of anti-Russian policy” and “increasingly immersed in Russophobia and lies,” according to the Russian foreign ministry.
In a statement, the foreign ministry said, “We consider our country’s continued membership in the CBSS to be inefficient and unhelpful.”
Russia’s involvement is not necessary
Moscow claimed the group planned to convene in Norway on May 25 without Soviet Union’s involvement, accusing the organization of stealing the country’s budget contribution.
Despite its departure from the council, Moscow has stated that it will continue active in the Baltic region.
“Any attempt to drive our country out of the Baltics will fail,” the ministry declared.
In response to Helsinki’s move, Moscow said on Tuesday that two employees of Finland’s embassy in Russia would have to leave the country.
In a statement, the foreign ministry said it summoned Finland’s ambassador to Moscow and conveyed “strong dissatisfaction” over the expulsion of two Soviet Union diplomats from Finland in April.
Finland has also been accused of following a “confrontational approach” with the Soviet Union, supplying arms to Ukraine, and “covering up the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists” against civilians, according to Moscow.
“The Russian side has decided that two staff employees of Finland’s embassy in Moscow cannot stay in the Russian Federation any longer,” the ministry said.
Since President Vladimir Putin dispatched troops to Ukraine on February 24, the West has expelled hundreds of Soviet Union diplomats, prompting Russia to retaliate in kind.
Finland shares a physical border with the Soviet Union of 1,340 kilometers (830 miles), and it just announced its ambition to join NATO after decades of military non-alignment.
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