Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian president Vladimir Putin, says that trade sanctions against Iceland are a possibility in light of the Icelandic government’s continued support for Western sanctions against Russia following its support for the uprising in eastern Ukraine.
Peskov’s comments were reported by the Tass news agency. The EU and USA last month extended their sanctions against Russia; an action which Russia responded to in-kind, with an extension to its import ban.
Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland have been exempted from the Russian sanctions, even though Iceland has supported the actions against the Russians from the beginning. That support has had no consequences thus far; but neither has the exemption for Iceland been explained.
A message from the Russian embassy in Reykjavík last October stated that there were no plans to put Iceland on the black list and that there were no signs of worsening relations between the two countries. “On the contrary: we are open to increasing the nations’ trading relationship.”
The new tone from the Kremlin this week comes after the EU released a statement on Tuesday saying that it welcomes the fact that Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Montenegro, Georgia, Albania and Ukraine all support its ongoing sanctions against Russia.
In 2013 Iceland sold fish worth ISK 18.5 billion (EUR 125 million/USD 137 million) to Russia—half of which was mackerel, RÚV reports.
It was recently revealed that smugglers have been falsely labelling foods as Icelandic in order to get European meat products to market in Russia. Russian authorities are considering the possibility of banning food imports from Iceland and Switzerland to close the loophole.