The countries of northern Europe and the European Union will halt their cooperation with Russia in the Arctic over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, they announced Wednesday.
Russia is a part of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), which was established in 1993 to protect the Barents region's estimated 5 million residents, which include a number of indigenous groups, as well as its vulnerable ecosystems.
"In light of Russia’s blatant violation of international law, breach of rules-based multilateralism and the principles and objectives of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the European Union have no other choice than to suspend activities involving Russia,” the council said in a statement published by the Norwegian government.
Western governments and companies have swiftly cut ties with Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops over the Ukrainian border on Feb. 24, an offensive dubbed by the Kremlin as a “special military operation” but widely viewed as an illegal invasion.
Over 250 Western companies have so far pulled out of the Russian market since Feb. 24. Russia has been cut off from world banking systems and Russia has also been suspended from the Council of Europe.
Despite Russia’s suspension from the BEAC, its members said they remain convinced of the value of the cooperation, and reiterated their support for the institution and its work.