Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the situation around the Northern Dimension and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC)

On March 8, Russia’s “partners” in the Northern Dimension (the European Union, Iceland and Norway), followed by BEAC members (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden) and the EU on March 9, came forward with unsubstantiated accusations against Russia, announcing Russia’s suspension from these two formats.

These clearly unfriendly steps run contrary to the fundamental principles of the Northern Dimension and BEAC operations, which are based on consensus and have not been affected by the political situation until recently. Refusal to cooperate within these formats may undermine the stability, trust and neighbourly relations in Northern Europe, with the contacts between people that took decades to build potentially winding down.

Blinded by the anti-Russia hysteria, the collective West is striking at the interests of people living in the northern regions, without much consideration for how these measures will affect their everyday lives. The established connections, beneficial projects and initiatives that have successfully served the steady socioeconomic development of the European North are collapsing in their entirety.    

We will continue to closely monitor the developments in the Northern Dimension and BEAC and will also assess their legal standing. But even now, it is clear that without Russia, the existence of these bodies loses meaning. They are essentially becoming “private clubs” tending to the interests of the European Union.

We expect that the online resources of the Northern Dimension and BEAC will not become tools of information war. Publishing anti-Russian content on these websites is unacceptable.

We hope that practical cooperation in the North in the interests of its residents will be resumed sooner or later.

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