PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir to Meet Zelenskyy Today

katrín jakobsdóttir ukraine zelenskyy

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, is set to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials today, March 14.

With the European Council set to meet in Reykjavík this May, Katrín has previously stated that it’s key for Icelandic leaders to meet with Ukrainian officials, given the central role the Ukrainian conflict will play in the summit.

Prime Minister’s Office Iceland

Katrín and other Icelandic officials were shown some of the signs of the conflict this morning and will meet with Zelenskyy in the afternoon. Katrín and her entourage were also seen laying commemorative wreaths for the victims of the war.

The Prime Minister stated to Morgunblaðið: “We were first shown ruins in Borodianka, apartment buildings that have been blown up, and then we went to talk to some of the residents. Then the road led to Bucha, where newspaper photographs of the mass graves found there are on display. There, we met the mayor Anatolij Fedorúk, who explained the situation to us […] It’s a completely different thing to see this yourself and meet these people, who have been through this horror.”

Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, was the site of a civilian massacre by Russian troops during the initial invasion in 2022. In April of last year, photographs emerged in the press that indicated that some 400-500 civilians had been summarily executed by Russian forces. The massacre at Bucha has been identified as a likely war crime in the conflict.

katrín jakobsdóttir ukraine zelenskyy
Prime Minister’s Office Iceland

Now, Katrín is on her way to meet directly with Zelenskyy. Among her retinue is also Foreign Minister  Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir.

A major item on the agenda will be Zelenskyy’s participation in the upcoming meeting of the European Council. Although his participation is confirmed, it is not clear yet whether he will be attending remotely, or whether he will come to Iceland for the summit.

Katrín stated further: “We will be reviewing the upcoming meeting in May, as Ukraine will be the focus there. The involvement of the European Council will potentially comprise of assessing damages, possible compensation for Ukraine, and so on.”

 

Newly Discovered Cave in North Iceland Closed

mývatn cave iceland

A newly discovered cave near Mývatn, a lake in North Iceland, has been closed by the Environment Agency of Iceland. The closure comes into effect today, March 14, and will be in effect for two weeks.

The Environment Agency recently received a tip on the discovery when a construction crew was laying the foundations for a new building near Mývatn. When the roof of the cave opened up, it revealed unique and fragile mineral formations associated with the geothermal area.

mývatn cave iceland
Umhverfisstofnun

Experts at the Environment Agency undertook several trips into the cave and determined that, prior to its accidental opening, it was likely filled with hot, geothermal air. These special conditions gave rise to the unique formations that can be seen in the picture above. Some of these formations stretch for several square metres on the floor of the cave.

In light of the unique nature of the cave, the decision was made to close it while further decisions can be reviewed. During this time, further investigative trips into the cave will be permitted to relevant researchers and staff, but it will be closed to the public.

Initial reports indicate that navigating the cave without disturbing the many mineral formations there is difficult.

Currently, efforts are underway to map and digitally scan the cave, while also marking out a footpath that is minimally destructive.

 

 

 

New Tracking Data Provides Insight into Behaviour of Juvenile Eagles

iceland eagle

The juvenile eagle, Lambi, has gone on quite the journey since he left home in November of 2022.

Since juvenile eagles have been tagged beginning in 2019, new data is allowing Icelandic researchers better insights into the behaviour of these birds, especially in the first year of their life.

 

The eagle in question, Lambi, was tagged in July of 2022. He stayed around his parental nest until November, when he began to range far and wide. Now, extensive data is giving Icelandic biologists new insight into the behaviour of these young birds.

Read more: Bad Year for Eagle Nesting

At the end of November, Lambi left his home near Breiðafjörður to cross the Snæfellsnes peninsula. From there, he explored much of West and North Iceland, including the Westfjords.

The above video shows his travels.

In the summer of 2022, a total of 14 young eagles were tagged with transmitters. Of these original 14, three were confirmed as dying when they were still at their home nest. Of these three dead juveniles, two are confirmed to have died from bird flu (HPAI H5N1).

A further seven juvenile eagles left the nest: three in November, two in December, and two in January. Notably, three eagles are still at their home nest as of March 13. This is considered to be unusually late for eagles to leave the nest. In previous years, most juveniles have left the nest by February.

Ask Iceland Review: Do Eagles Live in Iceland?

This is significant, as it leaves the parents relatively little breathing room for the next breeding season. Eagles in Iceland generally begin nesting in March and April, and if last year’s young are still in the nest, it can negatively impact the next generation.

 

 

Nine Days of Cold Spell, With No End in Sight

Reykjavík

The capital area has seen below-zero temperatures uninterrupted since March 6. Today, March 14, marks the ninth straight day of subzero temperatures.

Although temperatures may briefly rise above zero tomorrow afternoon, no clear end is in sight for the cold spell.

In a report on Facebook, meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson stated: “It’s an unusually long spell for March, when the sun has begun to warm during the day. The previous record this winter was for some 14 days before Christmas, though this was when the sun was at its lowest.”

According to Einar, the coldest March in living memory was in 1979, when the temperatures remained below zero for 11 continuous days, from February 28 to March 10.

Though the month began with relatively warm temperatures, the average temperature during the latest cold spell has sat between -6.5°C and -7°C [19°F to 21°F].

The low temperatures are expected to last at least until the weekend, with a slight rise on Friday.

Poor Cyber Security in Iceland Leaves Infrastructure at Risk

Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir Icelandic minister

Iceland is lagging when it comes to knowledge and education on cyber security, which could put the country at risk of cyber attacks, RÚV reports. Minister of Universities, Innovation, and Industry Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir says a new university program focusing on cyber security will be established in the coming year or so. Suspicious traffic within Iceland’s network jurisdiction has increased sixfold since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

 “We are quite far down in cyber security when compared to other countries, and are maybe among countries that we generally don’t want to compare ourselves to,” Áslaug Arna stated. The lack of security could make Iceland’s infrastructure a target for cyber-attacks, including its energy system or its healthcare system.

 Alþingi, Iceland’s parliament, passed amendments to its national security policy two weeks ago. Apart from military threats and cyber security, the policy covers societal threats such as financial security, epidemics, climate change, and natural disasters.