Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that it is time for the EU to introduce sanctions against Russia because of their military engagement in Ukraine.
There was no way that the EU could ignore such a blatant breach of international law, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Russia was trying to provide a “staged justification” for entering Ukraine, he said of president Vladimir Putin’s recognition of two breakaway regions. Peace keeping forces did not send in tanks and helicopters, he said.
Russia’s stance was troubling which was why the US, the UK and the EU would be issuing sanctions to stop further Russian action.
“This is a situation where there needs to be focus on diplomacy and dialogue," added the Minister.
The EU will have to respond in a firm way.
Meetings were taking place in Brussels this morning to deter mine the level of sanctions, which he felt would be targeted. A full package of sanctions would not be introduced unless there was a full invasion. “The EU will have to respond in a firm way.”
International law did not recognise the actions of Russian troops in moving into a part of Ukraine even if president Putin recognised them as independent states.
The EU will send “a very firm message” to criticise Russia’s actions, said Mr Coveney.
There remained between 60 and 70 Irish citizens in Ukraine all of whom had been encouraged to leave in recent days, but some were married to Ukraine citizens, had families and considered Ukraine as their home. It would now be difficult to get out, he warned.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has been communicating with Irish families awaiting a surrogate baby in Ukraine. The situation was “hugely traumatic” for them. The advice remained not to travel to Ukraine. “We will work with families to ensure they are reunited with their children as soon as possible.”