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Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Photo: Golli. Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

Iceland to Take Part in Sanctions Against Russia, Ministers Say

Iceland’s Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and President publicly condemned Russian military action in Ukraine this morning. Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament, discussed the development during question period today, when opposition MP Helga Vala Helgadóttir urged the Justice Minister to declare Ukraine an unsafe country and accept refugees from the country in Iceland. Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir stated Iceland would take “full part in international sanctions” on Russia.

Iceland’s National Security Council will meet today to discuss the Russian attack on Ukraine, RÚV reports. The meeting was scheduled prior to the attack launched by Russia last night. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated that the most pessimistic predictions of events in Russia and Ukraine have come to pass.

“The Icelandic government and I condemn this attack, of course. This is a serious breach of international law and truly looks as if the worst predictions in this matter have come to pass,” Katrín stated. Asked about Icelandic authorities’ response, she stated that Iceland would collaborate with its allies and NATO, of which it is a founding member.

Unclear whether Russian ambassador will stay

Þórdís Kolbrún was asked whether authorities would consider deporting Russia’s ambassador to Iceland. “We called him to a meeting here yesterday and reviewed our case. Now the priority is really to support what needs to be supported within NATO, monitor closely and review what is happening.  As for the Russian embassy here, it will remain to be seen,” Þórdís stated. The Russian Embassy to Iceland criticised statements from the President of Iceland and the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressing support in Ukraine’s territorial integrity earlier this month, calling them “one-sided” and “subjective.”

During the Icelandic Parliament’s question period this morning, opposition MP Helga Vala Helgadóttir urged Justice Minister Jón Gunnarsson to declare Ukraine an unsafe country today and ease the arrival of refugees from the country. The Minister answered that the issue “should be reviewed” at this point, but made no firm declarations, Kjarninn reports. Jón’s recent actions concerning asylum seekers, including proposed amendments to the Immigration Act, have been criticised by human rights organisations and medical professionals in Iceland.

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