Coveney said: ‘Civilians were targeted when the Taoiseach suggested the Irish military could assist in rescuing refugees in countries that border Ukraine.


Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney said there was no doubt that Russian forces had targeted civilians during their war. Ukraine.

inister Coveney spoke in response to the violence and civilian casualties in Ukraine and in particular the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol this week.

He told RTÉ’s Liveline program.

“Civil infrastructure has been targeted. Schools, I think more than 200 schools have been destroyed so far and yesterday, you know, I really think people feel sick when they see pictures of maternity hospitals, in Children’s hospital, shrunk to rubble and hear the stories of children and babies under the rubble. ”

Mr Coveney said reports from Russian officials claiming the maternity hospital had been evacuated were “unreliable” and that those in Russia who tried to tell the truth were being threatened with up to 15 years in prison. .

Despite the devastation caused by Russian forces, Minister Coveney said the focus should still be on analyzing the war and not then sending Western troops to support the Ukrainian army.

He said that as with the sanctions already imposed on Russia, Russian officials will have to answer before “the International Criminal Court, in the Human Rights Council, in the United Nations Security Council, in the General Assembly of the United Nations, in the OSCE, in the Council of Europe”.

He said European leaders are “ready to go further again” with sanctions but NATO believes sending troops will only aggravate the conflict.

“What we don’t want here is an escalation of this war where more people will die. Where we are going to make an illegal war completely unacceptable, that is completely inconsistent with the UN charter and Russia must bear the full responsibility, if it turns into an even global conflict. even bigger.

“The West does not sit back. Yesterday in Washington, a package worth 13.6 billion euros was agreed and signed to support Ukraine. The EU is spending half a billion euros to support the Ukrainian military, has signed an additional 1.2 billion euros in economic support for Ukraine.

“Ireland is using every tool at its disposal to raise the illegal issues here and hold Russia accountable and we will continue to do that and of course we will also play our part before humanitarian challenges.”

Minister Coveney said experts are predicting that the Russian economy will “default” due to the severe sanctions that have been imposed.

He added that the Russian invasion was a “significant” economic and military miscalculation.

“I think the Russian leadership was expecting that this war would be over within three or four days. That didn’t happen and won’t happen anytime soon. I also think they completely underestimate the European Union. They probably saw the EU weak, divided and indecisive and they also saw a lot of divisions in Washington and so they decided that this was the time to strike; to try to exert Russian influence over a sovereign state in Ukraine.

“I think all those calculations were wrong and now they realize that and the challenge for the international community is of course to maintain deterrence and continue to increase pressure through other measures. sanctions but also have to find a way to facilitate a change of course from Russia because ultimately that’s how this needs to end. “

Meanwhile, Taoiseach has suggested that the Irish military could go to countries bordering Ukraine to assist with any international aid and rescue efforts for refugees.

Speaking at the informal EU summit in Versailles, Michael Martin said any such intervention for humanitarian purposes would be subject to the “third course” of UN resolutions, the acceptance of agreement of the Government and Dáil.

“It can always happen… We have a third course, which requires Government approval, Dáil approval and a UN resolution, then allows the Irish military to serve in the operation. peacekeeping operations or peace enforcement,” he said.

“And as you know, we have served on European Union peace enforcement missions in the past.

“We stand ready to help our neighbors in a logistical humanitarian crisis, whether it is on the border between Ukraine and Poland, Moldova, Romania, countries that are under a lot of pressure because of the situation. current picture. “ Coveney said: ‘Civilians were targeted when the Taoiseach suggested the Irish military could assist in rescuing refugees in countries that border Ukraine.

Fry Electronics Team

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