Taoiseach in Brussels for key meeting on Ukraine war

ireland
Taoiseach In Brussels For Key Meeting On Ukraine War Taoiseach In Brussels For Key Meeting On Ukraine War
Micheal Martin, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Dominic McGrath, PA

The Taoiseach is joining European leaders and the US president in Brussels to discuss the latest response to the war in Ukraine.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who tested negative for Covid-19 after several days of isolating in Washington last week, will join other leaders for a European Council summit.

The meeting will also be attended by US president Joe Biden.

The EU meeting comes alongside Nato and G7 gatherings, as Western leaders try to remain united in the face of Russian aggression.

It remains to be seen if the EU will agree on Thursday to impose fresh sanctions on Russia.

US president Joe Biden is attending the talks in Brussels (Evelyn Hockstein/AP)

European Affairs Minister Thomas Byrne said ahead of the meeting that he expects a “broadening” of sanctions.

“Ireland certainly will be working towards that, in supporting that,” he said.

“The difficulty of course is that you want to make sure that Russia feels the pinch very, very seriously. But that we don’t end up feeling a greater pinch than Russia.

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“The punishment has to be to Russia, not to anybody else.”

However, he said it is important EU leaders remain unanimous over any possible measures.

Thomas Byrne, left, said it is important there is unity in the West on sanctions (PA)

He said while it is possible the EU could take more drastic action on Russian oil and gas imports, he acknowledged such a proposal has different levels of support in European capitals.

“You’ll have heard some other leaders cast some doubt on that,” Mr Byrne told RTÉ radio.

“Anything that happens at the European Council has to happen in a unanimous way.

“Discussion can take a different turn. And that’s certainly possible today.

“This is democracy. It’s complicated. Twenty-seven countries, and indeed parliaments in some cases, have to mandate leaders getting together.”

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