Irish in Ukraine urged to seek shelter as leaders condemn Russian attack

Irish In Ukraine Urged To Seek Shelter As Leaders Condemn Russian Attack
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Russia 'will pay a high price for this outrageous act of aggression'. Photo: PA Images
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Updated 9.30am

The Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs have condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as Irish citizens remaining in the country were urged to seek shelter.

In a statement on Thursday morning, after Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast during the early hours, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Russia “will pay a high price for this outrageous act of aggression.”


“I utterly condemn, in the strongest possible terms, Russia’s indefensible attack on the sovereign people of Ukraine. Our first thoughts are with them,” he said.

“We will work with our EU partners and at the UN to hold President Putin and his regime accountable. Russia will pay a high price for this outrageous act of aggression. We stand with Ukraine.”

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.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney branded the Russian military assault on Ukraine a “murderous act of aggression” and said it appeared the time for diplomacy was now over.


“They are lying to themselves and lying to the world about their justification for it,” he said. “It is also in many ways an attack on the kind of Europe we have built together, collectively, since World War II.”


Speaking on RTÉ radio, Mr Coveney promised “very direct and very hard-hitting” sanctions against Russia.

“We are not going to go to war with Russia, militarily,” he said.

“But certainly 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.”

Irish families

He said two Irish families are currently in Ukraine for surrogacy services and that Irish officials are working with them. Ireland’s diplomatic team in Kyiv had moved to a safe place, he said.


“We have been planning for this for a while. There are contingency plans in place. And we will obviously act in a way that maintains the safety of our people,” he said.

Also speaking on RTÉ radio, Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko called on the international community to be “very vocal” and strong in their response to the Russian invasion.

Ms Gerasko said she had been shocked to see reports of attacks and was concerned for her country, her parents and her family. It was hard to believe that something like this was happening in the 21st century, she said.

This was Russia testing the United Nations, the security architecture of the whole world, the international community and international order, Ms Gerasko said. Ukraine was very grateful to Ireland for its unwavering support, she added.


Earlier on Thursday morning in a series of tweets, Minister Coveney said: “Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. God help them.

“Rocket attacks & explosions across the country. Make no mistake: this is a shocking murderous act of aggression against a sovereign peaceful state. EU and world needs to respond strongly.

“Our thoughts & prayers are with the innocent people of Ukraine, as families wake up to shocking Russian attacks.

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“Russian leaders are lying to their own people to justify this illegal aggression. We utterly condemn Russia for this act of unjustifiable war in the heart of Europe.”

He added: “Our diplomatic team in Kyiv has moved to a safe place and we stay in close contact with them. We are working with EU colleagues to ensure their safety.

“At the emergency UN Security Council meeting Ireland condemned the decision of Russia to launch a military operation and called on UNSC members to ‘assume their responsibility and to speak out in the strongest possible terms about this act of aggression’.”

-Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke and Press Association.

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