Sunday, June 11, 2023

Iceland to Suspend Embassy Operations in Moscow

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 9 –Thórdis Gylfadóttir, foreign minister of Iceland, announced today that her country will suspend the operations of its embassy in Moscow as of August 1 because “At the moment, commercial, cultural or political relations with Russia are at an all-time low. Hence, maintaining operations of the embassy of Iceland in Moscow is no longer justifiable.”

            She summoned the Russian ambassador to Reykjavik to inform him of the decision and to request that Moscow “limit the operations of its embassy” in Iceland “in line with Article 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations” (

            "This is not an easy decision as Iceland has enjoyed rich relations with the people of Russia since our independence in 1944,” Gylfadóttir said. But “the current situation simply does not make it viable for the small foreign service of Iceland to operate an embassy in Russia. I hope that conditions will someday allow for us to have normal and fruitful relations with Russia, but that depends on decisions taken by the Kremlin,"

            Iceland currently has 18 bilateral embassies around the world based on its prioritization of the significance of relations with various countries. That Reykjavik has taken this decision now will surely be read in Moscow as the strongest protest yet by a NATO member country about Russia’s continuing aggression in Ukraine.

            This is at least the second time Iceland has taken the lead in doing something vis-à-vis Moscow that other Western countries were thinking about but had not yet done. That was in January 1991 when Iceland announced its recognition of Lithuanian independence in the wake of the Soviet massacre at the TV tower and communications center in Vilnius.

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