Russia has taken an official decision to withdraw from the Council of Baltic Sea States, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
"In response to the hostile actions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a message to the ministers of the CBSS member states, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy [Josep Borrell], as well as to the Council Secretariat in Stockholm with a notice of withdrawal from the organization. At the same time, the Federal Assembly of Russia decided to withdraw from the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference," the document reads.
"Termination of membership in the CBSS will not affect Russia's presence in the region. We will continue to work with responsible partners, hold events on key issues of development of the Baltic region - our common heritage, protect the interests of compatriots," the document says.
"The situation in the Council of Baltic Sea States is deteriorating. NATO and EU states in the CBSS have abandoned the equal dialogue and principles on which this regional structure in the Baltic was created, and consistently turn it into an instrument of anti-Russian policy," the ministry pointed out. "Unlawful and discriminatory decisions are made in violation of the consensus rule. Russia is "suspended" from the work and projects of the CBSS, "suspended" the participation of Belarus as an observer in the council."