On 21 September 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a meeting of the Baltic States and Nordic country (Nordic-Baltic Eight, NB8) Directors for Eastern Europe and Russia.
The meeting focused on providing Ukraine with the necessary support, including for the process of Ukraine’s integration with the European Union. The NB8 countries expressed their unwavering and firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and they were unanimous about continuing active coordination in the Baltic and Nordic format.
The Russian aggression against Ukraine was discussed as were the ways how to make further pressure on Russia to stop hostilities. “It is essential to continue the isolation of Russia and Belarus within international organisations, to go ahead with work to prevent circumvention of sanctions, as well as to promote support from global partners to Ukraine,” emphasized Uldis Mikuts, Director of the First Bilateral Relations Department. At the meeting, the participants discussed the current state of affairs in Belarus and the regime’s crack-down on civil society activists and the democratic opposition. The Baltic States informed their Nordic counterparts about the hybrid threat orchestrated by Belarus and the deteriorating situation with illegal migration at the border with Belarus.
Discussing the outbreak of violence in Karabakh, the Directors underlined the need to restore dialogue between Azerbaijan and the Karabakh Armenian community. There was also an exchange of views on current developments and cooperation with Moldova, Georgia and Central Asian countries.
The NB8 cooperation format comprises Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. Latvia is the coordinating country for the NB8 cooperation in 2023 at the level of ministries of foreign affairs, and its priorities are closely related to the challenges posed by Russia’s war against Ukraine. One of the priorities is the strengthening of the rules-based international order through seeking legal solutions to holding Russia and its leaders accountable.
An important mode of the NB8 cooperation is to arrange joint visits by officials abroad, which reaffirm the region’s unity and values. This past spring, Latvia organised a joint trip by the Foreign Ministers to Moldova and Ukraine.