Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calls for Iceland to send the Russian ambassador home and cut diplomatic ties with Russia have been on the rise. However, RÚV reports that this is not an easy task, and would open up other challenges–for Icelanders and Russian citizens alike.
The matter was discussed on radio station Rás 1 this morning, featuring Pirate Party MP Arndís Anna Kristínardóttir Gunnarsdóttir and Independence Party MP Njáll Trausti Friðbertsson.
“Completely cutting diplomatic ties or even sending the ambassador home would, for example, make it more difficult for Icelanders who are in Russian to return home,” Árndís said. “It can complicate matters significantly.”
She also pointed out that Russian citizens, many of them facing persecution for their political views, journalism, and more, often come to Iceland seeking international protection.
“Cutting diplomatic ties, in whole or in part, can greatly limit the chances of these people to get protection,” she said.
Njall confirmed that the Icelandic government has not discussed the possibility of expelling the Russian ambassador to Iceland, Mikhail V. Noskov, but said that the ambassador’s statements “have not been exemplary. On the contrary, they have been quite aggressive.”
He added that the invasion of Ukraine has, however, created a unity amongst NATO countries like never before.
As reported, the Icelandic government has thus far revoked visas for Russian government officials and business leaders, and has also blocked Icelandic air space from Russian aircraft. The government is also gearing up to accept up to 2,000 Ukrainian refugees in the days to come.
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