Taoiseach calls on Russia to stop attacking Ukrainian civilians

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Taoiseach Calls On Russia To Stop Attacking Ukrainian Civilians Taoiseach Calls On Russia To Stop Attacking Ukrainian Civilians
The Taoiseach was speaking as he arrived at an informal EU summit in Versaille on Thursday. Photo: PA Images
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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called for Russia to stop attacking Ukrainian civilians as the war continues to escalate.

Ukraine accused Russia of genocide after officials said Russia bombed a children’s hospital in the port city of Mariupol on Wednesday, a charge Moscow dismissed as "fake news".

Mr Martin was speaking as he arrived at an informal EU summit in Versaille on Thursday.

He said that energy prices, European security, and the status of refugees from Ukraine will be high on the agenda for the meeting.

"The brave journalists who have gone into Ukraine, who are shining a light on the appalling attack on the civilians of Ukraine, appalling atrocities being visited upon them, the war should end," Mr Martin said.

"I would say to foreign minister Lavrov, and to all in the Russian Federation, please stop this war, and please stop the attacks on civilians."

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Ahead of the meeting, the Taoiseach also said he wants to see EU flexibility to reduce the amount of VAT charged on fuel.

The Government agreed on Wednesday to introduce a cut of 20 cent per litre on petrol and 15 cent per litre of diesel, which took effect from midnight on Thursday.

The measure was introduced amid concerns about growing pressures on the cost of living.

However, despite the slash in excise duty, many drivers were seeing prices above €2 a litre on Thursday.

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Mr Martin said he wants the EU to allow member states to reduce the VAT charged on fuel without losing existing deals.

"There are various directives there from the VAT directive to the energy directives which have a basic common framework across Europe, and we believe there should be flexibilities in terms of the application of that framework," Mr Martin told reporters.

"Particularly in terms of historic derogations that we enjoy in relation to VAT.

"We don't want to lose those historic derogations."

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