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Sinn Fein calls for expulsion of Russian ambassador to Ireland

Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov, at a press conference in Dublin in January (Niall Carson/PA)
Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov, at a press conference in Dublin in January (Niall Carson/PA)

The leader of the main opposition party in Ireland has said the Russian ambassador to the country should be expelled.

Alongside calling for the expulsion of Yury Filatov, the Sinn Fein leader also said that tougher sanctions needed to be levied on Russia, as the invasion of Ukraine continues.

“The sanctions announced to date against the Russian Federation and the oligarch elites close to President Putin are having no effect in deterring the invasion of Ukraine. They are simply insufficient to persuade Putin to reverse course,” Mary Lou McDonald said.

“Our solidarity with Ukraine must take the form of significantly strengthened sanctions against the regime of President Putin. We need sanctions which can end Russian aggression against Ukraine and force a complete withdrawal of Russian military forces.

Ms McDonald raised concerns about the movement of Russian money through the financial centre of Dublin to Russia, a concern that has been flagged several times in the Irish parliament in recent days.

“The IFSC in Dublin is a significant European centre for financial services. The Irish Government therefore needs to take a lead in arguing for rapid and decisive sanctions which freeze the assets of Putin’s financial backers, and which shut off the Russian banking system from the European banking system,” she said.

The Sinn Fein leader said that the EU must not take a “wait and see approach” to the Russian invasion.

“The EU must act today with sanctions of such scale where there can be no doubt that Putin, and his oligarch supporters will pay a huge price for choosing the course of military conflict over dialogue and diplomacy.”

Earlier this week, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar accused Sinn Fein of being “soft” on Russia.

The Irish deputy premier accused the party of being highly critical of a Government decision to expel a Russian diplomat over the nerve agent attack in Salisbury in 2018.

The Russian Embassy has been contacted for comment.

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