Andrei Nazarov, co-chairman of the Forum's organizing committee, told Russia's Izvestia newspaper that the participation of delegates from the Baltic countries in the forum, set to kick off in April, will be "an important step toward overcoming tensions between our two countries, and the sanctions regime."
Vyacheslav Titov, a city council deputy from Klaipeda, Lithuania, told the newspaper that the delegation would be able to assess the peninsula's economic potential, and urged the European Union as a whole and the Baltic countries in particular to seek common ground with Russia.
Latvian MEP Miroslav Mitrofanov, who served as an observer during the 2014 referendum on Crimea's secession from Ukraine, emphasized the importance of dialogue to escape the crisis in relations between Europe and Russia caused by the Crimean issue.
The Ukrainian crisis, and Crimea's unification with Russia led to a severe downturn in relations between Moscow and Western countries. The United States and the European Union slapped Russia with several rounds of sanctions, with Moscow responding with agricultural sanctions against Western food products. The Baltic countries have been particularly hard hit by the Russian countersanctions, which caused a severe downturn in their fishing, dairy, meat and processed foods industries.