Russia says it is quitting the Council of the Baltic Sea States, accusing the organization of becoming “an instrument of anti-Russian policy” and “increasingly bogged down in Russophobia and lies.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on May 17 that it is leaving the regional grouping that also includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the European Union amid tensions with the West over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

The statement came as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country will intensify its military collaboration with Sweden and Finland as the two countries seek NATO membership in the wake of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Last month Russia quit the Council of Europe under threat of expulsion after its membership was suspended over its invasion of Ukraine.

A reminder that, on February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, starting a war. Russian troops are shelling and destroying the key infrastructure facilities, launching missile and air strikes on residential areas in Ukrainian cities and villages, torturing and murdering civilians.