Russia announces it won’t move embassy to Jerusalem

While Moscow recognized “West Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital in 2017, Russia does not intend to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

By World Israel News Staff

Russian ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov told Moscow-based news agency TASS that Russia will not relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Speculation regarding a potential embassy move was connected primarily to a 2017 statement by Russia’s foreign ministry that Moscow “view[s] West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” in addition to the Russian mission in Israel’s decision last year to break from tradition and hold its annual “National Day” festivities in Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv.

To date, a number of countries have either transferred their embassies to Jerusalem or expressed an interest in making the move, including the United States, Guatemala, Australia, Brazil, and the Czech Republic.

Viktorov characterized an embassy move as “outside the agenda,” adding that “Russia is committed to the international legal framework concerning Jerusalem, including corresponding United Nations Security Council resolutions,” according to Tass.

Viktorov’s announcement regarding Russia’s embassy arrives amid mounting tensions between the two nations over Israel’s airstrikes in Syria, which number in the hundreds over the past two years alone. Israel has eliminated tens of Iranian and Syrian troops and destroyed critical military infrastructure that could potentially threaten the Jewish state.

Both Syria and Iran remain staunch allies of Russia, which has historically recognized Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian military entrenchment in Syria. Israel has exercised this right via targeted attacks on military positions and weapons storehouses and convoys in Syria, many of which were operated by Iranian forces or Hezbollah terrorists.

Russia appeared to change course, however, after Syria accidentally downed a Russian plane last September in an attempt to thwart an Israeli strike on a weapons depot outside Latikia that was connected to Iranian-backed terror activities.

Fifteen Russian soldiers were killed in the incident and Russia blamed Israel, notwithstanding a 40-page report revealing that Syria shot down the aircraft while responding to an Israeli airstrike.