The Russian Embassy in Reykjavík has expressed disappointment in Tweets authored by the President of Iceland and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Embassy has called the Tweets, which declare support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, “one-sided” and “subjective.”
On February 15, Minister of Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir took to Twitter to encourage Russia to “deescalate” and “respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine. The Tweets followed the Minister’s meeting with Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, in which the pair discussed “the serious security situation in Europe.”
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson retweeted the Minister’s message a day later, extending a greeting to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine on the newly declared Unity Day: “Iceland is united with (its) NATO Allies to call on Russia to deescalate and respect the sovereignty & territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
The Russian Embassy responds
Yesterday, the Russian Embassy in Reykjavík responded to the President’s and Minister’s Tweets, saying that it had been “deeply disappointed with Reykjavík’s one-sided and subjective comprehension of the real situation in the region.”
The Embassy holds that the escalation at the Ukrainian border is to be traced to the failure of Ukrainian authorities to comply with the Minsk II agreement – which has proven difficult to implement, owing in no small part to profound differences in interpretation between Moscow and Kyiv – and the “active participation” of Western countries in the militarisation of Ukraine.
The Embassy called on Iceland to take a “more balanced and constructive approach” towards matters of European security.
Tensions have been growing between Ukraine and Russia over the past few weeks. According to the US, Russia is believed to have amassed approximately 150,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, demanding that Ukraine be permanently denied membership to NATO and that NATO remove all soldiers and weapons from Eastern Europe. NATO has rejected these demands on the grounds of the principle of self-determination.
US President Biden stated yesterday that it was “highly likely” that Russia would invade Ukraine in the coming days; the Russian authorities have denied that they harbour any such plans.
(This article was updated at 9.40 AM)