Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov referenced Ireland in a speech attempting to justify the Russian invasion. Comparing the UK’s relationship with Ireland to Russia’s relationship with Ukraine, Mr Lavrov accused the West of “only seeing [events] through the prism of their own egotistical interests”. But Mr Coveney blasted his counterpart in Russia, calling Russia’s war with Ukraine “unjustifiable”.
He said: “Don’t bring Ireland into an argument trying to justify an unjustifiable war.
“Ireland/UK are an example of how two countries, with a difficult past, found a way to shape and sustain a peace process, guaranteeing an absence of violence.”
He added: “Ireland will maintain solidarity with the people of Ukraine and do what we can to support them through this unjustifiable war.”
In a press conference following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr Lavrov said: “Something like that was also said by President Zelensky when he demanded that those people who think themselves part of the Russian culture, they should go away from Ukraine.
“For example, if in Ireland, if they prohibited the English language what would the UK think about it.
“Or in Belgium, they would have forbidden the french language.
“I can’t imagine that a lot like that would last for more than a couple of days or even hours.
“But in the West, they only see it through the prism of their own egotistical interests.
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“So when you are accused of something you start to make all this ruckus but when language, cultural, religious rights of millions, many millions of people in Ukraine are being violated you focus not on human rights.”
Putin declared war on Ukraine in the early hours of the morning yesterday, sending shockwaves through the world.
He launched a full-scale invasion, with Russian forces entering the country through Belarus, Crimea and Russian-backed separatist regions.
At least 137 people have been killed during the assault on Ukraine so far, while the UN’s refugee agency estimates that around 100,000 Ukrainians have been displaced.
Russia has bombed 33 civilian sites in the last 24 hours, Kyiv’s interior ministry said.
In response, UK and NATO countries have hit Russian businesses and officials with sanctions.
The UK has excluded major Russian banks from the country’s financial system, while oligarchs have been hit with asset freezes and travel bans.
Russia’s national airline Aeroflot will also be banned from landing in the UK.
Mr Johnson said the UK’s measures are “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen”.
Addressing the House of Commons yesterday evening, he described Putin as a “blood-stained aggressor”.
He added that the Russian leader “will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands”, accusing him of “trying to redraw the map of Europe in blood and conquer an independent state by force of arms”.