Nobel Foundation disinvites Russian ambassador from Stockholm prize ceremony

The Nobel Foundation on Saturday decided to disinvite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran from the awards ceremony to be held December 10 in Stockholm. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The Nobel Foundation on Saturday reversed course and decided to withdraw invitations for the Russian, Belarusian and Iranian ambassadors to attend December's prize ceremony in Stockholm.

The foundation earlier this week had issued a statement indicating it would extend the invitation to all parties, but following a backlash from Ukraine and elsewhere, announced on Saturday that it had rescinded the move.

"The decision by the Nobel Foundation to invite all ambassadors to the Nobel Prize award ceremony, in accordance with previous practice, has provoked strong reactions," the foundation said in a press release Saturday.

The board, therefore, "chose to repeat last year's exception to regular practice -- that is, to not invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the [Dec. 10] Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm."

All participants remain invited to attend the Nobel Peace Prize event in Oslo, Norway.

In its previous decision issued Thursday, the foundation announced that "all parties that have parliamentary representation via democratic elections will be invited to the Nobel Day [in Oslo], and ambassadors from all countries that are diplomatically represented in Sweden and Norway respectively, will be invited to the prize award ceremonies [in Stockholm]."

That move, however, provoked criticism from Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko.

"Most likely that day the Russian ambassador will sit in a good suit in a Stockholm concert hall [and] the Russian army will commit another war crimes in the occupied Ukrainian territories, and Russian missiles will destroy another residential quarters in Ukrainian cities," Nikolenko said in a Facebook post Friday.

Saturday's reversal, meanwhile, drew praise from the Ukrainian spokesman.

"Thanks to everyone who demanded the restoration of justice," Nikolenko wrote. "They are convinced that a similar decision should be approved for Russian and Belarusian ambassadors in Oslo," Nikolenko said in a post.