Sunday, September 24, 2023

Moscow Pulls Out of Barents Cooperation Council, Blames Nordics for Its Decision

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 18 – Moscow has told the other members of the Barents Cooperation group that Moscow is withdrawing from that organization because the Nordic countries have refused to cooperate with Russia or promise that Russia will assume the chairmanship later this year as the organization’s charter specifies.

            This step is entirely the fault of the other members of the group – Norway, Sweden and Finland – Russia says; and it reflects what Moscow says are a mistaken approach by those countries which fails to take into consideration the long-term interests of all ( and

            The Barents cooperation group was set up in 1993 to promote cross-border contacts between the northernmost regions of Finland, Sweden and Norway with northwestern Russia. The Nordics suspended their cooperation with Russia after Putin launched his expanded invasion of Ukraine. Now, Russia has responded.

            Moscow’s formal withdrawal from this group and the end of its cooperation with the Arctic Council could open the way for the Russian government to create an alternative Arctic organization that would include China but none of the traditional Arctic powers (

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