Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that his primary concern as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence is to find a way to “stop this madness” and to urge countries who can influence Russia to end the war in Ukraine.
Ireland was not neutral on this issue, he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show.
“We have taken a side, it is right to take sides. This is not something that we can be neutral about,” Mr Coveney said.
That was why Ireland had contributed to help Ukraine defend themselves, he added.
Mr Coveney said he did not think that any rational person could look at the images coming from Ukraine and say that the attacks on civilians were not war crimes. Every international organisation of which Ireland was a member would try to hold Russia to account, he said.
However, that was the medium term – the push against “the impunity Russia thinks it has”. Immediately there was a need to halt the war. There was a need to avoid the situation that had happened in Syria.
“We should not resign ourselves to months and months of war.”
Lives at risk
Mr Coveney said that Ukraine was “not likely” to break, if anything their resolve was getting stronger. There was a need to avoid a long drawn out war with high casualties. Tough sanctions would put more pressure on Moscow.
The question was how many people had to die before Russia would turn to negotiations, he asked.
There were 600 to 800 Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland every day with the total to date likely to reach 6,000 by later today, added the Minister.
As further sanctions were imposed the EU was bracing itself for cyber attacks which had increased by 25 per cent in recent weeks. The cyber attack on the Irish health service last year had cost a lot of resources to restore services and had put lives at risk.
The truth was that no country was safe from cyber attack, no matter how large, said Mr Coveney.