Iceland Closes Its Embassy in Russia
The Icelandic Embassy in Russia ceased its operations on August 1st, as announced on the Icelandic government's website. Alongside Russia, the Icelandic Embassy in Moscow also represented Iceland in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The representation in these countries will now fall under the jurisdiction of the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Reykjavik.
The decision to suspend the embassy's operations in Moscow does not signify a diplomatic rupture, as clarified on the government's website. Iceland intends to prioritize the reinstatement of its embassy in Moscow once conditions permit, according to the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Icelandic government justifies this move by stating that the current functioning of the embassy in Moscow does not align with the priorities of its foreign service.
The decision by the Icelandic government did not come as a surprise, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the island nation had already announced its plans on June 9th. At that time, the Russian ambassador was summoned to be informed about the decision. Additionally, Iceland had requested Russia to limit the operations of its embassy in Reykjavik in accordance with Article 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and to reduce the level of diplomatic representation.
"This was a difficult decision, as Iceland has enjoyed rich relations with the people of Russia since our independence in 1944. However, the current situation simply does not allow a small foreign service like Iceland's to manage an embassy in Russia. I hope that conditions will someday allow us to have normal and fruitful relations with Russia, but that depends on decisions made by the Kremlin," stated Tordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland, at the time.
As of now, there is no information about whether Russia has limited the operations of its embassy in Iceland. The latest entry on the website of the Russian Embassy in Iceland is dated May 16th of this year, and their Facebook page only contains propaganda reposts from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Iceland has eighteen bilateral embassies in foreign capitals, prioritizing their locations based on the scale of economic, political, and cultural ties, or cooperation for development purposes.