Russia recognises West Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Despite indications that it will be recognised as such immediately, there are currently no plans to move the Russian embassy from Tel Aviv.


Russia has recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, becoming the first major country to publicly announce that it considers any part of the city to be the Jewish state’s seat of government.

In a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry on Thursday, as initially reported by the Jerusalem Post, the country said that it reaffirmed its 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.”

As reported by the Post, the Russian government intends to recognise West Jerusalem in this way immediately, rather than waiting until East Jerusalem becomes the capital of any future Palestinian state. However, there are no plans to move the Russian embassy from Tel Aviv at this time.

Although Israel considers “a complete and united Jerusalem” to be its capital, other countries, including key allies such as the United States and Canada, do not officially recognise it as such, maintaining their embassies in Tel Aviv.

The surprising move by Russia came even as Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that it was unacceptable to make “groundless” accusations regarding the chemical weapons attack which took place this week in Syria.

Hours beforehand, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Defence Minister, had told Israel’s Yediot Aharonot that he was “100% sure” that the strike, which killed 100 and injured at least 400, was “carried out "on the direct and premeditated command of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Syrian planes".

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