A controversial letter from the President’s wife to a newspaper was picked up by Lifenews.ru, a hugely popular website and TV channel with close ties to the FSB and Russian security forces.
The letter suggested that Russia and Ukraine should agree to a ceasefire and negotiations.
LifeNews reported that Ms Higgins had “indicated that the special operation would continue until the world convinced the presidents of Russia and 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 naive,” Cormac Smith said Irish Independent.
But Mr Smith said: “Russia, without any provocation whatsoever, invaded a peaceful and democratic country 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.
The controversy first arose last week when Ms Higgins wrote to the Irish Times to criticize one of the newspaper’s editorials on the conflict.
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.”
Her comments were also posted on the President’s official website before apparently being removed on Friday.
Kateryna Yushchenko, a former First Lady of Ukraine, suggested 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.
This was announced by a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in Kyiv Irish Independent it is closely monitoring the issue, but it is up to the ambassador to comment.
Ms. Gerasko declined to comment further last night.
The President’s wife’s intervention was exploited by the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov, who said he agreed with the points made by Ms Higgins.
There have been widespread condemnations of key figures in all parties involved in the current coalition.
Fine Gael Senator John McGahon said: “The Irish people look to their President for clarity and leadership, not silence.
“The question now is why has the President allowed this to be published as an official statement on his website?”
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne said: “Ms Higgins has the right to represent and express her personal opinion, although I believe she is dead wrong in trying to suggest equivalence in the positions of Ukraine and Ukraine to see Russia.
“However, the decision to post the letter on the President’s website raises serious questions.
“It falls to the President of Ireland now to clearly state the strong support of the people of Ireland for the people of Ukraine and that we hold Russia responsible for the war and the ongoing barbarism.”
There was also support for Ms Higgins.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett tweeted: “The attack and censorship of #SabinaHiggins is disgraceful. Every effort should be made to achieve a ceasefire and an end to the slaughter in Ukraine. The idea that either side can achieve a “victory” in this war is a recipe for tens of thousands more deaths.”
A spokesman for President Higgins said there would be no comment on the matter.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/sabina-higgins-ill-informed-letter-covered-by-popular-russian-website-with-links-to-security-forces-41881301.html Sabina Higgins ‘ill-informed’ letter covered by popular Russian website with links to security forces