Iceland’s Embassy in Moscow Shuts its Doors

At the moment, commercial, cultural or political relations with Russia are at an all-time low. Hence, the Foreign Ministry announced that maintaining operations of the embassy of Iceland in Moscow is no longer justifiable.

By Elías Thorsson - August 3, 2023
Hærr­i með­al­ald­­ur fyr­­ir­­tækj­­a í Kaup­h­öll á­h­yggj­­u­­efn­­i
Foreign minister of Iceland, Þórdís Kolbrún Gylfadóttir, has been vocal in her criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Picture: Fréttablaðið).

Operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow were suspended Tuesday as relations between the two nations continue to deteriorate following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

On 9 June, foreign minister Þórdís Kolbrún Gylfadóttir announced the closure, adding that she had requested Russia limit the operations of its embassy in Reykjavík, in line with article 11 of the Vienna Convention. The embassy in Moscow opened in 1944, shortly after Iceland regained its independence from Denmark.

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

The Foreign Ministry said, however, that the decision to suspend the operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow does not constitute a severance of diplomatic relations. “As soon as conditions permit, Iceland will prioritize the resumption of operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow,” the ministry wrote in a statement.

In addition to Russia, the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow has represented Iceland vis-a-vis Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Representation will from now on be covered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland in Reykjavik.