Russia invades Ukraine: ‘Outrageous act of aggression’ claims Irish Taoiseach

AN Taoiseach Micheál Martin has claimed Russia “will pay a high price” for its decision to invade Ukraine overnight.
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Mr Martin was among the many leaders from Europe and elsewhere to express concern for the people of Ukraine amid reports of combat engagement and shelling at various points along the border.

He said: “I utterly condemn, in the strongest possible terms, Russia’s indefensible attack on the sovereign people of Ukraine. Our first thoughts are with them.

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“We will work with our EU partners and at the UN to hold President Putin and his regime accountable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Itish Taosieach Michéal Martin.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Itish Taosieach Michéal Martin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Itish Taosieach Michéal Martin.

“Russia will pay a high price for this outrageous act of aggression. We stand with Ukraine.”

The Taoiseach on Tuesday met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin and the two men discussed developments in relation to Ukraine.

In a statement this morning, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called on the international community to ‘act immediately’.

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The statement reads: “The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has announced the start of the new wave of aggression against Ukraine.

“The goal of the Russian offensive military operation is to destroy the Ukrainian state, to seize by force Ukrainian territory, and to establish occupational control. The Russian Armed Forces are launching attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities from different directions, including from the territory of the temporary occupied Donbas and Crimea, as well as from South-East region.

“This is an act of war, an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a brutal violation of the UN Charter and basic norms and principles of the international law.

“Ukraine has activated its right to self-defense in accordance with international law.

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“The combat spirit of the Ukrainian military is high, our defenders are ready to give a decisive response to the aggressor state, and will protect the Ukrainian soil with all their strength.

“Ukraine calls on the international community to act immediately. Only united and decisive actions can stop Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.

“Our partners should immediately enact a package of new sanctions. We also call on friendly capitals to continue strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities by providing weapons and military equipment.

“Not only the lives and security of Ukrainian citizens, but also security of citizens of the entire Europe and the future of the world order depend on our joint response.”

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On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the separatist regions of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic at a meeting of the Russian Federation Security Council at the Kremlin.

During his lengthy address, Mr Putin claimed Russia has “exerted efforts and still continues to make efforts to resolve all the complicated aspects and tragic developments by peaceful means, but we have what we have”, and said that as well as listening to the wishes of people in the separatist regions, this was also a matter of national security for his country.

“Our goal, the goal of today’s meeting is to listen to our colleagues and to outline future steps in this direction, considering the appeals by the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic on recognising their sovereignty, as well as a resolution by the State Duma of the Russian Federation on the same subject. The latter document urges the President to recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.

“At the same time, I would like to note that these different matters are, nevertheless, closely linked with matters of maintaining international security, on the European continent in particular, because the use of Ukraine as a tool for confronting this country, Russia, of course, presents a major and serious threat to us.

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“This is why we have intensified our work with our main partners in Washington and NATO over the past few months and in late 2021, so as to reach an eventual agreement on these security measures and to ensure the country’s calm and successful development under peaceful conditions. We see this as our number one objective and a top priority; instead of confrontation, we need to maintain security and ensure conditions for our development.

“But we must, of course, understand the reality we live in. And, as I have said many times before, if Russia faces the threat of Ukraine being accepted into the North Atlantic Alliance, NATO, the threat against our country will increase because of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty that clearly states that all countries in the alliance must fight on the side of their co-member in the event of an aggression against it. But since nobody recognises the will expressed by the people of Crimea and Sevastopol, and Ukraine continues to insist that it is Ukrainian territory, there is a real threat that they will try to take back the territory they believe is theirs using military force. And they do say this in their documents, obviously. Then the entire North Atlantic Alliance will have to get involved.

“As you know, we have been told that some NATO countries are against Ukraine becoming a member. However, despite their objections, in 2008, they signed a memorandum in Bucharest that opened the doors for Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO. I have not received an answer to my question as to why they did that.”

Meanwhile Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said the protection of civilians in Ukraine must now be the absolute priority.

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“While the potential for full-blown conflict is now a devastating reality, every effort must be made to minimize civilian suffering and prioritise humanity in this crisis. It is a legal obligation of all parties to do so.

“We urge all parties to adhere strictly to international humanitarian and human rights law. They must ensure the protection of civilian lives and refrain from indiscriminate attacks and the use of prohibited weapons such as cluster munitions. We also call on all parties to allow and facilitate access of humanitarian agencies to provide assistance to civilians affected by hostilities.

“Amnesty International will be monitoring the situation closely to expose violations of international law by all parties.”