Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called the Russian naval exercises 240 kilometers off the coast of Ireland “unwelcome”.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the cabinet will be briefed on rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia tomorrow.
Minister Coveney today met with his EU counterparts in Brussels, which has been dominated by escalating tensions over Ukraine.
Mr. Coveney made it clear to the Russian ambassador how the Government felt about this move.
However, Russia’s Ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov tonight said the planned tests were “standard procedure” and “in fact a story not”.
He said the issue was “overblown”, adding: “These exercises are part of the annual plan.”
“The drills are regular military training activities that have been conducted regularly for many years,” Filatov said.
He went on to say that “there is no connection to Ireland here” and added that his country has no plans to attack Ukraine or anywhere else.
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Earlier, Minister Coveney said Russia’s planned naval exercises were in international waters, “but it is also part of Ireland’s exclusive economic zone.”
Speaking before the meeting, he added: “We don’t have the power to stop this from happening. But certainly, I made it clear to the Russian ambassador to Ireland that that was not welcome.
“This is not the time for increased military activity and tension given what is happening with Ukraine at the moment, and so I think it is important that I keep my colleagues informed of my ideas. that determination.
“Russia, under the International Law of the Sea, can of course conduct military exercises in international waters, but the reality is that it is choosing to do it on the western borders of the EU, if you wanted, off the coast of Ireland, is something that in our view is simply unwelcome and undesirable right now, especially in the coming weeks.
“It is an important day today for EU foreign ministers to reinforce the message of unity from the European Union in relation to Russia/Ukraine tensions,” Mr Coveney added.
“There are two very clear messages that EU foreign ministers will want to pass on today.
“First of all, a clear message and asking Russia to defuse tensions in the context of their activities on the Ukrainian border and offer reassurance to the rest of the world about their intentions.
“Secondly, a strong message of unity from the EU that if Russia decides to invade Ukraine militarily, that action will have very severe consequences from an EU perspective on sanctions and The restriction will be very quick, which I think will be the most comprehensive the EU has cooperated with in decades. ”
Today, the leader of Fine Gael, Leo Varadkar, said he expected to be briefed by Minister Coveney tomorrow and that he would also inform the Cabinet about tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Mr Coveney said the EU was ready to impose the “most comprehensive” and “severe” set of sanctions and restrictions on Russia “for many, many decades” if Moscow invaded Ukraine.
He said today’s meeting of EU foreign ministers, in which they were attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken via videoconference, saw calls for Russia to de-escalate tensions and show EU unity if they invade.
He was also asked about EU disunity, especially Germany’s decision not to allow arms sales to Ukraine.
Mr Coveney replied that at a recent informal meeting of EU defense ministers in Brest, ministers had “put aside their scenario” and spoke “in very frank terms” to Mr. about the need for consensus.
He added: “I think there will be a very high determination to act in a very decisive and united manner. And I think that will be reinforced today.”
Separately, the Foreign Office said it had “no plans” to withdraw any staff or their dependents from the Irish Embassy in Kiev.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/irish-news/8256412/coveney-russian-naval-exercises-ireland-cabinet-ukraine-tensions/ Coveney says Russian naval exercises off Ireland coast ‘unwelcome’ as Cabinet briefed on Ukraine tensions