Russia relocates military exercises away from Irish coast

Russia Relocates Military Exercises Away From Irish Coast
Simon Coveney, © PA Archive/PA Images
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Russia will relocate planned military exercises away from the Irish coast, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence has confirmed.

Minister Simon Coveney said he had written to his Russian counterpart requesting a reconsideration of the naval exercises, and received a letter in response this evening confirming the exercises will be moved to a different location.


“This week I wrote to my counterpart, the Minister of Defence of Russia, to request a reconsideration of naval exercises off the Irish coast," Mr Coveney said in a post on social media.

"This evening I received a letter confirming the Russian exercises will be relocated outside of Ireland’s EEZ. I welcome this response."

The Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov, said the decision to move the exercises had been made "as a gesture of goodwill."

“In response to the requests from the Irish government as well as from the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu has made a decision," he said in a statement.

“As a gesture of goodwill, to relocate the exercises by the Russian Navy, planned for February 3rd to 8th, outside the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ), with the aim not to hinder fishing activities by the Irish vessels in the traditional fishing areas.”


Live fire

The exercises, involving the launching of rockets, were due to take place off the southwest Irish coast in February.

Russian exercise off Irish coast 'directly' connec...
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They were to take place in a location outside of Ireland’s territorial sea, but within Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an area of sea where the country has special rights regarding exploration and the use of marine resources.

The Department of Transport had released an official warning over the “live fire” navy exercises, cautioning of “serious safety risks” posed to shipowners and seafarers as the exercises were carried out from February 3rd to 8th.

The planned drills were criticised by the Government, with both the Taoiseach and Mr Coveney previously stating they were “not welcome”.

Irish fishermen also called for the navy exercises to move away from the fishing grounds used by Irish boats, with representatives meeting with the Russian ambassador over the issue.

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