Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ireland’s deputy premier brands Putin the ‘Hitler of the 21st century’

Leo Varadkar said the invasion of Ukraine is an “atrocity” and made it clear Ireland is not politically neutral on the issue (PA)
Leo Varadkar said the invasion of Ukraine is an “atrocity” and made it clear Ireland is not politically neutral on the issue (PA)

Ireland’s deputy premier has branded Vladimir Putin the “Hitler of the 21st century”.

Leo Varadkar said the invasion of Ukraine is an “atrocity” and made it clear Ireland is not politically neutral on the issue.

His comments come as his Government colleague, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, met with EU counterparts in Brussels to discuss further sanctions against Russia.

The EU agreed a package of measures on Thursday and there are plans for more economic measures against President Putin and Russia in the coming days.

Mr Coveney welcomed a move on Friday to freeze the assets of Mr Putin and Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Brexit
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney (PA)

Mr Varadkar said Ireland will support banning Russia from the Swift international payment network.

He said the Government will also discuss cutting the number of Russian diplomats in Ireland from 20 – based at the embassy in Dublin – to around three.

He said expelling ambassador Yuri Filatov has not been ruled out.

Opposition parties in Ireland are demanding Mr Filatov’s expulsion.

There were angry scenes outside the embassy in Dublin earlier on Friday as a large crowd of Irish-Ukrainians gathered outside the gates to denounce the invasion.

Earlier, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee confirmed her department has removed visa requirements between Ukraine and Ireland.

She said it will help with the “swift exit” of Ukrainian family members of Irish citizens and the family members of people from Ukraine who live in Ireland.

Irish premier Micheal Martin described the package of measures agreed by the EU so far as “comprehensive” and predicted it will attack Russia’s finance, industry, trade, energy and transport sectors.

Mr Martin said the invasion by Russia is a “gross violation” of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

He admitted there will be “a price to pay” for European countries as a consequence of the sanctions.

“Europe has responded very strongly. In its totality it is very strong,” he said.

Mr Varadkar also acknowledged that sanctions such as banning Russia from Swift would have economic implications for Ireland.

But he said those consequences needed to be accepted given the situation in Ukraine.

“I don’t think we’re in that space where we can be concerned about the economic impact on Ireland when a democratic country in the European Union is being invaded and the attempt is being made to overthrow a democratic government there,” he told RTE Radio One.

He added: “The last time I can think of that happening in Europe is in the 1930s and I think we should see this conflict in that context.

“We knew that Putin was a bad man, we’ve known that for a long time now, but we didn’t think that he would be the Hitler of the 21st century and I think he’s putting himself into that space.”

He continued: “When it comes to this conflict, Ireland is not neutral. We we support Ukraine in any way we can – short of military action.

“This is the kind of thing that we haven’t seen on this scale in Europe really since the 1930s. And it is shocking, it is immoral and it’s important that the European Union is united and that we stand up to Russia at this time.”

Earlier, speaking in Brussels, Mr Coveney condemned the “horrific images” from Ukraine, as forces in the capital Kyiv prepare for an all-out assault from Russia.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
A diplomatic car trying to enter the gates of the embassy gets kicked by protesters (Sam Boal/PA)

He described them as “the kind of images that I think most people on the continent of Europe felt were consigned to history”.

He added: “We are seeing a full-scale war being waged on one of Europe’s largest countries by a nuclear superpower next door, and we need to respond to that as the European Union.”

Mr Coveney also hit back at Mr Lavrov after he referenced the use of the English language in Ireland during a press conference on Ukraine.

“If in Ireland, if they prohibited English language, what would the UK think about it?” Mr Lavrov asked.

Also offering the example of the use of French in Belgium, he added: “I can’t imagine that a law like that would last for more than a couple of days or even hours.”

Mr Coveney rubbished the comparison.

In a strongly worded tweet, he said Russia should not try to use Ireland to justify an “unjustifiable war”.

He said the Irish-British relationship is an example of two countries with a “difficult past” that “found a way to shape and sustain a peace process, guaranteeing an absence of violence”.

On Friday, following the protest outside the embassy, ambassador Mr Filatov claimed his country’s invasion of Ukraine is a “humanitarian intervention”.

He said there is no proof that Russian forces has targeted civilians in the assault.

Russian military exercises off coast of Ireland
Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov (Niall Carson/PA)

He claimed Ukraine has recently used diplomacy as a cover for preparing an offensive on the Donbas region of the country.

“It’s not our choice, the military option is not our choice,” he told RTE.

He added: “There was no other choice to end the suffering of Donbas through real humanitarian intervention – that’s what this special operation is exactly about.

“The only aim of the operation is to neutralise the ability of the Ukrainian military to inflict any more suffering on Donbas. Ukrainians should not be afraid of that.”

Asked why he should be allowed to stay in Ireland, the ambassador said: “You might ask your Government, it’s up to them. I can leave any time.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]
Tags

More from the Press and Journal Politics team

More from the Press and Journal