PRESIDENT Michael D. Higgins has issued a statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine but making no reference to a controversial letter from his wife Sabina.
It follows days of mounting pressure over Sabina Higgins’ letter, which was published in the Irish Times and on the President’s official website but later removed.
The letter suggested that Russia and Ukraine should agree to a ceasefire and negotiations.
The President’s statement today read: “Records show that President Higgins has unequivocally condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine since his original March 1st statement.
“He has repeatedly condemned what he has described as an illegal, immoral and unjustifiable Russian invasion of Ukraine. He has called for an immediate Russian withdrawal and an end to the violence.”
It said Mr Higgins stressed the importance of using every available “tip of diplomacy”.
However, the statement made no specific reference to Sabina Higgins’ letter, which was both condemned and politically criticized by the Ukrainian community.
She said fighting would continue until the world “convinces President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations.”
The letter was criticized by a former senior adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
“What Sabina Higgins said last week was ill-informed and naïve,” Cormac Smith told the Irish Independent.
Mr Smith said: “Russia has invaded a peaceful and democratic country without any provocation and has murdered, tortured and raped thousands of innocent Ukrainians since February.”
Yesterday Mr and Mrs Higgins attended the opening of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann – but did not address the controversy.
Mr Higgins gave a speech opening the event but did not speak to reporters.
Kateryna Yushchenko, a former first lady of Ukraine, suggested over the weekend that Ms Higgins should not intervene in something she knows little about.
She said on Twitter: “I recommend Ms Higgins not to embark on something that you are obviously unaware of.
“As we in Ukraine will not tell your country what to do in your relations with England and Northern Ireland.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko said she did not believe the letter was the Irish President’s official position.
A spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry in Kyiv told the Irish Independent that the matter is being closely monitored but it is for the ambassador to comment.
Ms. Gerasko declined to comment further last night.
https://www.independent.ie/news/president-michael-d-higgins-issues-statement-on-ukraine-but-does-not-mention-wifes-letter-41882532.html President Michael D. Higgins makes a statement on Ukraine but makes no mention of the wife’s letter