Russia excluded from Danube Commission due to its attacks on Odesa Oblast

Russia was expelled from the Danube Commission, an international intergovernmental organization developing free navigation on the Danube River, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported on March 1.

The commission adopted a decision in December last year calling on Russia to leave the organization as its continuous attacks on the Lower Danube region, part of which lies in Ukraine’s Odesa Oblast, violated principles of the founding Belgrade Convention.

Russia could withdraw from the convention until Feb. 29 but did not do so, which means that, as of March 1, “the Danube States will no longer consider themselves bound by the obligations under the Belgrade Convention vis-a-vis the Russian Federation.”

Other members of the Danube Commission include Ukraine, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Croatia.

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The сommission has also imposed a fine on Russia for not paying contributions after being stripped of its powers in the organization in March 2022, Kuleba said on X (formerly Twitter).

“I thank the Danube Commission, our Danube partners, and everyone who helped make this historic decision. I urge all international organizations to follow suit, isolate Russian diplomats, and kick Russia out. Aggressors and terrorists have no place in any reputable international forums,” he added.

The commission has not yet officially confirmed that the decision to expel Russia entered into force. Moscow has not commented either.

Following Moscow’s withdrawal from the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2023, Russian forces launched a campaign of strikes against Ukraine’s port infrastructure and civilian facilities in Odesa Oblast, causing casualties and large-scale damage.

Debris from Russian drones used in such strikes were found in Moldova and Romania, prompting the countries to increase their security measures.

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