Taoiseach Micheál Martin arrived in war-torn Kyiv this morning.
He entered Ukraine by train after staying in Poland on his special mission to see for himself the damage caused by the conflict.
Mr Martin will also express the solidarity of the Irish people with Ukraine at the “illegal and immoral” invasion of Russia.
During his visit, he will speak to Ukrainian authorities and parliamentarians on how Ireland and the EU can support the country’s current and future needs.
The Taoiseach was invited to visit Ukraine by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy due to Ireland’s strong support for Ukraine’s EU candidacy last month.
Mr. Martin will witness firsthand the devastation caused by the bombing and targeting of civilians during the invasion and occupation by Russian forces.
Mr. Martin saw the ruined bridge at Borodyanka, famous from countless television reports, as fleeing civilians crawled over it, and spoke to the governor about the devastation being wreaked across the region.
He is believed to have been able to visit the mass graves in Bucha, northwest of the capital, after Russian soldiers ran amok and slaughtered civilians in a series of crimes now being investigated by UN war crimes investigators.
He will reaffirm Ireland’s full support for the continuation of sanctions against the Putin regime, Ukraine’s path to full EU membership and our commitment to work with EU colleagues to ensure Ukraine’s reconstruction.
Ahead of his meeting with President Zelenskyy today, the Taoiseach said: “The Irish people stand with Ukraine and her people in the face of Russia’s immoral and unprovoked war on terror.
“The bombing and attacks on civilians are nothing short of war crimes and I will use my visit to express Ireland’s support for action being taken to ensure full accountability behind these attacks.
“The spirit and determination of the Ukrainian people have inspired us all and Ireland will do its utmost to support Ukraine’s path towards full EU membership and will continue to welcome and support civilians fleeing this war.”
Mr. Martin is traveling with a small entourage and a TV crew from RTÉ.
He will reaffirm Ireland’s full support for the continuation of sanctions against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, and for Ireland’s commitment to work with the EU on Ukraine’s reconstruction.
Mr. Martin’s trip comes two weeks after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was invited to visit Ukraine.
It is the first visit by a Taoiseach to the Eastern European country.
It also comes after Mr Putin on Monday declared victory in capturing eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province and his troops escalated their offensive in neighboring Donetsk.
Mr Martin has previously warned that the Russian president appears to be using his natural gas reserves to exert maximum pressure on Europe ahead of the winter period.
The Taoiseach has also been a vocal advocate of accelerated Ukraine’s EU membership.
Mr Zelensky previously thanked Ireland for its “active support of Ukraine’s European aspirations”.
Ireland has also taken in more than 36,000 Ukrainian refugees since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine in late February.
The Irish State has given the country €20 million in humanitarian assistance and aid, as well as health equipment and medical donations worth more than €4.5 million.
In April, Simon Coveney became the first UN Security Council Secretary of State to visit Kyiv and met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Mr Coveney also visited the town of Bucha on the outskirts of the capital, where alleged killings of civilians have drawn global condemnation.
https://www.independent.ie/news/taoiseach-micheal-martin-restates-solidarity-with-ukraine-as-he-arrives-in-war-scarred-kyiv-41817454.html Taoiseach Micheál Martin in Ukraine: The Taoiseach reaffirms his solidarity with Ukraine as he arrives in war-torn Kyiv