Yesterday Barents Sports Committee had an extraordinary board meeting. There have also been meetings in the different boards in each country. We have also had a close dialogue with our sports federations.
In our meetings it was decided that Russian participants and leaders are banned from participating in the Barents Games and our international committee as long as the joint international sanctions against Russia lasts.
The Russian attack on Ukraine is a blatant and unacceptable breach of international law, Russia's attacks on the Ukrainian people and violations of international law require international condemnation and sanctions.
The Barents sports collaboration has existed for over 70 years. The collaboration has survived wars, the cold war, and geopolitical disagreements. We think that this is a very difficult decision to make, just six days after we won Thorvald Stoltenberg's award. A prize we won for our work of promoting peace, international dialogue between countries and the connecting of people in the Barents region.
We still believe in dialogue, we still believe in cooperation and we believe in our youth. BSC sees it as very important that the sports peace work in the people-to-people cooperation is kept going, especially in a future perspective.
We believe that our young people will lead the way into a better world. It is therefore very sad to announce that we will also not will be working on our project “Young Leaders in Barents” as long as the joint sanctions against Russia last.
We also choose to postpone the Barents Sports Conference which was to be held in Alta in May.
A joint meeting is to be arranged in the Barents committees of Norway, Sweden and Finland. BSC ask for your understanding that we need some time to see and discuss how we continue our work with Barents Sports in the future.