Iceland to suspend embassy operations in Moscow as of August 1

Reykjavik, Iceland. The Arctic Circle Assembly was held in the city this week. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Reykjavik, Iceland. “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’s Foreign Affairs Minister Thordis Gylfadottir said. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Iceland said Friday it’s suspending embassy operations in Moscow effective August 1.

“This is not an easy decision as Iceland has enjoyed rich relations with the people of Russia since our independence in 1944,” Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Thordis Gylfadottir said.

“However, the current situation simply does not make it viable for the small foreign service of Iceland to operate an embassy in Russia.”

No one from Iceland’s Foreign Affairs ministry could immediately reached for comment, but in a statement it said that the current state of relations with Moscow no longer warranted ongoing embassy activities.

“At the moment, commercial, cultural or political relations with Russia are at an all-time low,” the ministry said. “Maintaining operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow is no longer justifiable.”

Russia asked to reduce its operations in Iceland

The ministry said the Russian ambassador in Iceland was also summoned on Friday and asked to lower diplomatic representation at the Russian Embassy in Reykjavik as well as reduce its operations.

Iceland stressed its decision was not a break in diplomatic relations and it would resume activities at its Moscow embassy when “conditions permit.”

“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,” Gylfadottir said. 

Iceland has run its embassy in Moscow since 1944, with only one previous break from 1951-1953 when there was no trade between Iceland and the Soviet Union.

Comments, tips or story ideas? Contact Eilís at eilis.quinn(at) 

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