EU sanctions on Russia to date not working, says Coveney

ireland
Eu Sanctions On Russia To Date Not Working, Says Coveney Eu Sanctions On Russia To Date Not Working, Says Coveney
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Ireland should back a fifth package of sanctions against Russia in the coming days. Photo: PA Images
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Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has admitted that EU sanctions to date against Russia were not working, which was why Ireland would be supporting a fifth package of sanctions in the coming days.

Speaking on both RTÉ Radio’s News at One and Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Coveney said sanctions were “real and practical next steps that can be taken by the EU.”

When asked what evidence there was to suggest the sanctions were stopping Russia, Mr Coveney said: “They’re clearly not,” but added they could be used as a deterrent for the continuation of war.

“If sanctions don't bite, if they aren't forcing a rethink, then they aren't working”.

Mr Coveney said discussions were taking place in the EU throughout this week regarding the fifth sanctions package.

"Ireland will be pushing hard for a significant ratcheting up of sanctions beyond where we have gone to date.

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"That includes energy, that includes the access to ports potentially, and it includes more Russian banks being removed from SWIFT.”

Ireland will be at “the sharper end" in terms of what was being considered, Mr Coveney added.

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The Minister said he had spoken to Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba on Sunday, who had been “quite graphic” about the devastation he has seen since Russia's invasion.

Ireland is one of 39 countries which has pushed to get the International Criminal Court (ICC) involved in the matter, Mr Coveney said.

He added that he personally felt that what was being reported from Bucha amounted to a war crime, but stressed such matters were up to the ICC to determine.

“If you're asking me for my opinion as to whether I think there was more war crimes committed here from what I've heard, the answer to that question is yes, and from what I've seen in terms of photographs the answer to that question is yes.

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“That will be up to the International Criminal Court and the team there - as well as other entities,” Mr Coveney said.

He added it is important for the ICC to “get on the ground” and document what was happening.

The Minister also responded to a report that refugees from Ukraine who arrive in Ireland could be accommodated in tents at Gormonstown, explaining it would be “an overspill facility” with the aim of providing short term accommodation, no longer than a day or two.

“It is not the intention of the Government to house people in tents,” he said.

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