On August 1, Iceland’s Foreign Ministry will become the first nation to suspend its embassy operations in Moscow.
Iceland has also asked Russia to scale back diplomatic activities in Reykjavik. The ministry cited an ‘all-time low’ level of commercial, cultural and political relations between the two countries as the reason for the closure. Diplomatic relations between the two nations have not been severed, the foreign ministry said, adding that the embassy will be reopened once relations normalise. However, Russia’s foreign ministry responded saying that Iceland’s decision “destroys” bilateral cooperation and that it would “respond”.
When Russia first invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014, Iceland quickly imposed economic sanctions on Moscow, despite potential consequences on its economy heavily reliant on fishing. While Iceland has no standing army and a non-weapon sales policy, since 2022 they have aided allied nations in transporting essential equipment to destinations like Poland, and the country has also donated three field hospitals to Ukraine. Thus, the embassy closure is just the latest example of Iceland, a country of just 350,000 inhabitants, supporting Ukraine, despite sabre-ratting from Moscow and the heightened Russian Air Force activity across northern Europe in recent years. Iceland’s dogged support shows no country is too small to contribute to Europe’s collective defence.
Rory is an Analyst that writes for the Daily Brief..