We are compelled to announce the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation stated on Monday.
The relevant statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, dated September 18, 2023, has been sent to the foreign ministries of the member countries of the organisation, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as well as to the International Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes, Norway, said in the statement, released by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that due to "the fault of the Western members (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the EU), the Council’s activities have been effectively paralysed since March 2022.”
The Finnish presidency failed to confirm the transfer of the BEAC presidency to Russia, scheduled for October 2023, in violation of the principle of rotation thus disrupting the necessary preparations, said in the statement.
According to the statement, the responsibility for breaking down the architecture of Barents cooperation rests entirely with our “partners”.
It also stressed that "Russia will continue to pursue its national objectives in the north" and is open to constructive international cooperation.
The Barents Euro-Arctic Council was established as a forum for regional cooperation in early 1993. Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Finland established the Barents Region (BR) at a meeting in Kirkenes, Norway. In addition to the BEAC permanent members (Russia (before), Denmark, Island, Norway, Finland, Sweden and the European Commission), nine other states - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States - have observer status.