Baltic Sea states seek joint action against rogue Russian oil fleet

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Baltic Sea states seek joint action against rogue Russian oil fleet

The democratic countries bordering the Baltic Sea on Friday called for concerted measures to thwart controversial Russian oil exports on barely seaworthy ships, reported dpa.

At the end of a two-day meeting in Porvoo near the Finnish capital Helsinki, the foreign ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) voiced deep concern over "increased hybrid operations by Russia, including sabotage and acts of violence, carried out in the Baltic Sea Region."

These operations include "disinformation campaigns, malicious cyber activities, electronic interference, and activities aiming at degrading the critical infrastructure," the group said in a declaration.

In view of these and other threats posed by Russia since it invaded Ukraine in 2022, it was vital to strengthen resilience and crisis response capabilities, the ministers said.

Reiterating their support for Ukraine's sovereignty, they called for more decisive action against the Russian so-called shadow fleet, including the tightening of sanctions.

Western countries accuse Russia of using often dangerously dilapidated ships to circumvent EU sanctions imposed after the 2022 invasion.

In this way, Russia can evade a Western price cap for its oil exports to third countries by using ships that are not owned by Western shipping companies or insured by Western insurers.

However, this poses a major threat to the oceans and the Baltic Sea in particular, which is susceptible to oil pollution, the council noted.

The shadow fleet also undermines international rules on maritime safety as well as the liability and compensation system, the CBSS said.

In addition, transporting Russian oil in circumvention of sanctions contributed to the ability of Russia to wage its war against Ukraine.

Founded in 1992, the CBSS comprises the eight countries bordering the Baltic Sea – Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Sweden – as well as Iceland, Norway and the EU.

As a result of the war in Ukraine, Russian membership was suspended in March 2022 and Russia withdrew from the CBSS in May 2022.


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