Russia is preparing countermeasures against those countries that have placed sanctions against them, which may include Iceland.
The Associated Press reports that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has “ordered preparation of retaliatory measures against several non-EU European nations that have joined the European Union’s sanctions against Russia”, which would include Iceland. Other countries which joined the EU sanctions against Russia last week were Liechtenstein, Norway, Montenegro, Albania, Moldova and Ukraine.
Retaliatory measures made against Iceland could have a significant economic impact, in particular on the fishing industry. Russia bought 10% of Iceland’s fish exports last year, and many in the country’s fishing industry are worried that Iceland’s continued participation in the sanctions will lead to Russia ceasing to buy fish from Iceland.
Independence Party MP Ásmundur Friðriksson believes the possibility of that happening is reason enough to end participation in the sanctions, stating that there are “incredibly important interests at stake”. Progressive Party MP Frosti Sigurjónsson, while not taking a solid position on the matter, did say that he believes Iceland should remain neutral on these matters, and not take up the foreign policy of the European Union.
However, Birgir Ármannsson, the chairperson of Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told RÚV earlier this week that “there is no reason” to stop the country’s participation in the international sanctions against Russia, as “Iceland took the immediate decision early last year to take part in those operations which both our partners in the European Economic Area and in North America took as a result of the annexation of the Crimea and the interference of Russia in Ukrainian matters. Unfortunately there have been no events which would warrant changing that position.”