Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, September 2015.
Ivan Sekretarev / REUTERS

On April 6, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that Moscow formally recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In the declaration, Russia first reaffirmed its commitment to UN principles of an eventual Israeli-Palestinian settlement and said it saw East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. “At the same time,” the statement read, “we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Although Israel continues to view Jerusalem in its entirety as the country’s capital, no country today maintains an embassy in the city. El Salvador and Costa Rica moved their embassies to Tel Aviv a decade ago (they were the last to do so). And despite the declaration, Russia is reportedly not yet considering moving its embassy.

Moscow’s statement, which Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Israel is “studying,” nevertheless marks a major change. Russia is now

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