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Russian Embassy in Israel plans to open Jerusalem branch

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov gives a statement to the media at the Russian Consulate in Tel Aviv, March 3, 2022. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)

The Russian Federation’s Embassy in Israel will reportedly open a Jerusalem branch in exchange for affirming its historical ownership of a plot of land where the office will be built.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry says the Russian embassy’s Jerusalem office will be larger than normal consulates and include a conference hall and residence for Russian diplomatic officials.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum welcomed the Russian decision to open an embassy branch in the Israeli capital.

“We are constantly in talks with many different countries about the recognition of Jerusalem as our capital and opening a presence in our city. We are pleased that this deal brings us a step closer towards that goal with the Russian Federation,” said Hassan-Nahoum.

However, the Russian Embassy office insists that their embassy's Jerusalem branch is consistent with Moscow’s long-held positions in the Middle East.

“We believe that this step fully serves the interests of further strengthening friendly multifaceted relations between Russia and Israel, as well it goes in line with our country’s unchanging course towards a fair Middle East settlement,” stated the Russian Embassy in Israel.

With the exception of the United States and a few other countries, most of the world’s nations have not been in a hurry to move their respective embassies to Jerusalem. In contrast, Russia recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, alongside “East Jerusalem” as the future capital of a potentially emerging Arab state.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” stated Russia's Foreign Ministry in 2017.

While Russian-Israeli ties have been stable for many years, they have recently deteriorated somewhat since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s growing military cooperation with Iran. In April, Russia rejected a request by Israel to postpone a UN debate on the Middle East that coincided with Israel’s official Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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