Iceland on Monday announced that its leaders will not attend the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer.
This came as the government of Iceland decided to stand in solidarity with the United Kingdom and other western states and join in their coordinated response to the chemical attack in Salisbury in England earlier this month.
“All of Iceland’s closest allies and partners have decided to take measures against Russia in the wake of the Salisbury attack, including the Nordic countries, most member states of NATO as well as several EU nations. Among the measures taken by Iceland is the temporary postponement of all high-level bilateral dialogue with Russian authorities. Consequently, Icelandic leaders will not attend the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer,” the foreign ministry said in a statement said.
Earlier in the day, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Iceland was summoned to the Icelandic Foreign Ministry and informed of the decision.
The statement further said, “So far, Russia’s response has been severely lacking. Russia must provide credible explanations on how a nerve agent originally produced in Soviet laboratories came to be used to attack civilians in the United Kingdom. The Government of Iceland urges Russian authorities give clear answers to important questions pertaining to the investigation and to fully cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”
Retired military intelligence officer Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre on March 4. However, they remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.
Iceland’s decision came as 16 European Union countries on Monday gave a large number of Russian envoys notice to leave their territory.