Approximately 300 people gathered outside the Russian Embassy yesterday to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Additional protests have been scheduled outside the embassy for Sunday. The Icelandic government strongly condemned Russia’s attack yesterday and iterated its support for Ukraine.
“Devastated” by news of the invasion
Following news of the invasion of Ukraine yesterday, Russian journalist Andrei Menshenin organised a protest outside the Russian Embassy in Reykjavík. Approximately 300 people were in attendance.
“I’ve been in contact with my colleagues worldwide today, and they have the same story to tell,” Andrei remarked. “Everyone is devastated by this course of events and very saddened. Many Russians have posted a black profile picture on social media today to try to express how they feel and to show that they do not at all support this attack by Putin.”
Additional protests on Sunday
Further protests of the invasion have been scheduled for Sunday.
As noted on a Facebook-page for the event – organised by Inga Minelgaite, professor at the University of Iceland’s School of Business: “There is no excuse for war in 2022. Standing up for peace is (the) responsibility of (each and) every (one) of us. Let’s meet for a peaceful protest to express our support to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”
Protesters are encouraged to light candles and flashlights and display the colours of the Ukrainian flag in a show of solidarity.
The Icelandic government responds
In a statement yesterday, the offices of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir called on Russia to cease its military action and declared that the invasion was “a serious violation of international law.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir iterated the government’s unwavering support for Ukraine: “Iceland will continue its support for Ukraine, by taking full part in international sanctions. Iceland will respond to humanitarian needs by providing EUR 1 million for humanitarian support in Ukraine. This is in addition to a EUR 200,000 contribution to NATO’s Trust Fund for (the) Ukraine Professional Development Programme.”
As noted in the press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian Ambassador to emphasise Iceland’s position. The Ministry’s consular services were also in contact with 28 individuals in Ukraine, including 16 Icelandic nationals, stating that it would continue to “work closely” with the consular services of other Nordic countries.