Murmansk terminates sister city relations with Akureyri

The largest city in the Russian Arctic has already lost sister city ties with several other Nordic Arctic cities.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - December 15, 2022
With about 300,000 inhabitants, there are nearly as many people in Murmansk as the entire population of Iceland (370,000 inhabitants). (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

The Council of Deputies in Murmansk on Thursday unanimously voted to terminate the sister city agreement with Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest city, Interfax reports.

The agreement, in place since 1994, is called off as a reciprocal measure, according to the vote.

Akureyri in November debated its relations with Murmansk and issued a statement condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The town council proposed to end the friendship agreement, newspaper Vikubladid reported.

The response from Murmansk came quick.

Akureyri is not the first Arctic city to distance itself from Murmansk after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rovaniemi in northern Finland terminated its twin city status with Murmansk a short week after Russian troops attacked on February 24.

In the same decision, Rovaniemi city council decided to donate €10 to Ukraine for each citizen, in total €70,000.

In September, Luleå in northern Sweden put an end to relations with Murmansk and in October, Norway’s largest city above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø, ended its 1972 agreement with Murmansk.

Tromsø Mayor, Gunnar Wilhelmsen, had one last message to Murmansk: “Stop this war!”

In the circumpolar north, Norway’s small town of Vadsø is now the only sister city to Murmansk.

This article has been fact-checked by Arctic Today and Polar Research and Policy Initiative, with the support of the EMIF managed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

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