Simon Coveney Confronts Russian Ambassador Over Military Exercises Off Co Cork As Minister ‘Concerned’

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of IRELAND will confront the Russian Ambassador to Ireland today over the plan to conduct military exercises off Co Cork.

The government said Minister Simon Coveney was “concerned” about plans for Russian bombers and naval ships to test missiles 240 kilometers off the southwest coast in early February.

A nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser launched from the Russian Flagship, Navy warship'Pyotr Veliky'


A nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser launched from the Russian Flagship, Navy warship ‘Pyotr Veliky’Credit: Alamy
Russian Su-35 fighter jet flies over Russia


Russian Su-35 fighter jet flies over RussiaCredit: AP: Associated Press

It comes like Moscow strengthens military exercises around the world with maneuvers taking place off the Russian coast and also in the Mediterranean, North Sea, Sea of ​​Okhotsk, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans amid fears that the country is preparing to invade Ukraine .

Foreign Secretary Patrick O’Donovan said Minister Coveney was “not satisfied” with the planned exercises and would confront the Russian ambassador to Ireland about it.

Speaking on RTE’s This Week in Politics, Minister O’Donovan said: “He is not happy about this. These are not sovereign waters of Ireland. They are called the Exclusive Economic Zone.

“It would not be unusual for naval vessels from other countries to notify the civil aviation authority – in this case the Irish Aviation Authority – that this would take place.

“But it is clear that there is a meeting of European Foreign Ministers coming up on Monday and the Minister of Foreign Affairs is concerned, he is not happy about this, especially given the growing situation. .

“He will present it directly to the Russian Ambassador.”

Most read in The Irish Sun

Speaking ahead of a meeting with EU Ministers, Coveney said Ireland remained fully in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that we would continue to extend our solidarity with Ukraine, calling on Russia to de-escalate Escalate tensions and engage in constructive dialogue.

And the State Department confirmed yesterday to the Irish Sun that it has “raised a number of concerns” to Russian authorities.

Russian Ambassador Yury Filatov last week met with Ireland’s Chief of Defense Staff, Chief of Staff Lieut Gen Seán Clancy to discuss international relations and agenda.

The Irish Aviation Authority confirmed it had sent notices to air traffic control to clear the plane from the sky during the period. missile operations.


A statement from the IAA said: “While the efficiency of aircraft routing may be affected, the safety of operations in Irish Air Traffic Control will not be affected, as all Civilian aircraft will be navigated away from this area during the operation.

“Although uncommon, notices of similar activity in International Seas in Irish controlled airspace are regularly received by other jurisdictions and similar procedures are in place to ensure safe for civil aircraft at all times.”

The missiles are expected to be launched from ships and aircraft, according to The, who broke the story on Friday night.

The test site is located about 240 kilometers off the southwest coast of Ireland and is officially considered international waters, meaning Russia is not breaking the law by choosing to conduct missile exercises there.

But the area is within Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone, patrolled by Irish Navy and Air Force ships.


Independent TD and former Self-Defense Force Officer Cathal Berry shut down the drills as Russia “jumped their muscles in our backyard” and called on Ireland to oppose the activities.

Deputy Minister Berry claimed that Ireland’s special economic zone had been “particularly selected to be potentially as devastating as possible”.

He told the Irish Sun: “Legally you can park outside my house. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s perfectly legal but it’s very disrespectful. For example, they wouldn’t dream of doing something like that in a special economic zone of France.

“And if we inform the Russians that we want to conduct a live-fire exercise 240 kilometers from their shores and they will have to reroute their planes and ships accordingly, they will do not allow that to happen even if it is legal. or not.

“It’s really just flexing their muscles in our backyard as a warning. You can see what they are doing with other neutral countries in Europe. They are choosing Finns, Swedes and Ukrainians and Ireland is no different.

“They realized that we were a very weak link militarily and they just told us they can do whatever they like.”


Deputy Minister Berry said these activities not only inconvenience Irish planes and fishing boats, but can also have dangerous consequences.

“This is a live fire exercise that is also very dangerous,” he explained. Whatever missile they’re firing. You don’t know where they’re going… If they’re firing at a specific target, it’s probably an old ship they’ve pulled into the area and there might be some oil on board, so if they do destroy the ship, oil will leak out”.

The lack of primary radar also means that Ireland will not have a realistic view of what the Russian planes are doing during the exercise.

“Our big problem from the Irish point of view is that we don’t even have a primary radar,” Berry warned. We have absolutely no defense, no primary radar, no primary sonar, they won’t even know what the Russians are doing out there because we don’t have the means to monitor it. It means we are completely vulnerable, completely exposed, and a national humiliation.”

Independent TD called on Ireland to “strongly oppose” the United Nations to stop the activities.

He said: “I think Ireland should strongly oppose this and designate a further area to watch. There’s a lot of blue water in the Atlantic, they shouldn’t be doing it in our backyard. “

Minister Simon Coveney'concerned' about activities


Minister Simon Coveney ‘concerned’ about activitiesCredit: Reuters
TD Cathal Berry says Ireland should oppose the exercises


TD Cathal Berry says Ireland should oppose the exercisesCredit: Social Media – Reference Simon Coveney Confronts Russian Ambassador Over Military Exercises Off Co Cork As Minister ‘Concerned’

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