Russia will face ‘hard-hitting’ EU sanctions, says Ireland

Taoiseach Micheal Martin condemned the latest action by Vladimir Putin, promising that Russia will pay a ‘high price’.

David Young
Thursday 24 February 2022 09:46
Taoiseach Micheal Martin Taoiseach condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine (Brian Lawless/PA)
Taoiseach Micheal Martin Taoiseach condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland has promised “very direct and very hard-hitting” sanctions against Russia, after the latest attack on Ukraine.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin condemned the action by Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney told RTE radio: “We are not going to go to war with Russia, militarily.

“I think the response in terms of sanctions will be very direct and very hard-hitting, and that means that the EU is also going to suffer as a result of those sanctions because undoubtedly there’ll be counter-sanctions from Russia.”

He indicated that it appears the time for diplomacy is now over.

“This is an illegal act of aggression by Russia,” Mr Coveney said.

“They are lying to themselves and lying to the world about their justification for it.”

Mr Coveney said it is not only an attack on Ukraine, but on the whole of Europe.

“It is also in many ways an attack on the kind of Europe we have built together, collectively, since World War Two.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs has urged all remaining Irish citizens in Ukraine to seek shelter in a secure place.

It advised citizens not to move around the country in the coming hours and to follow the advice of local authorities.

Mr Coveney said two Irish families are currently in Ukraine for surrogacy services and that Irish officials are working with them.

The minister also confirmed that the Irish diplomatic team in Kyiv have moved to a safe place.

“Let’s not forget what President Putin has done and said over the last number of hours is not only to start a war with Ukraine through a broad invasion, not just of the regions in the east of Ukraine but the country as a whole.

“But he’s also warned any country that intervenes and helps Ukraine, he has also threatened them very likely. We are seeing a language that we simply have not seen in many, many decades in Europe of aggression and of potential brutality,” Mr Coveney said.

He predicted a united response from the European Union and said that Ireland cannot remain politically neutral on such an issue.

“I think you will see extraordinary unity today from the European Union.

“Yes, Ireland is a neutral country. We’re militarily non-aligned. But we are certainly not neutral on an issue like this, when there is blatant aggression happening on the continent of Europe.”

Earlier, the Irish premier tweeted: “I utterly condemn Russia’s indefensible attack on the sovereign people of Ukraine.

“Our first thoughts are with them. We will work with the EU & UN to hold Putin and his regime accountable.

“Russia will pay a high price for this outrageous act of aggression. We stand with Ukraine,” Mr Martin said.

Appearing on RTE radio, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland said the international community needs to be “very vocal and very strong now”.

Larysa Gerasko said: “I’m so emotional. I’m really shocked. My parents live with 150 kilometres from the northern border of Ukraine and they’re shocked.

“We want to believe in the peaceful settlement and that Putin will stop on this point in Ukraine, and return to the roundtable of the negotiations, and all the international community has to be very vocal and very strong now.”

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