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.

Irish premier backs EU ban on coal and oil imports from Russia

People pass a mural of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, by the artist Phil Atkinson in Granard, Co Longford, Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)
People pass a mural of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, by the artist Phil Atkinson in Granard, Co Longford, Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

The Irish premier said he would back an EU ban on coal and oil imports from Russia over its war in Ukraine.

Micheal Martin said the European Union must keep adding pressure on Moscow to stop its “appalling and immoral war” on the people of Ukraine.

It comes as the EU’s executive branch proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia in what would be the first sanctions targeting the country’s lucrative energy industry over its war in Ukraine.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the EU needed to increase the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin after what she described as the “heinous crimes” carried out around Kyiv.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in south Dublin last month (Damien Storan/PA)

She said the ban on coal imports is worth four billion euros (£3.3 billion) per year.

She added that the EU has already started working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.

Ms von der Leyen did not mention natural gas.

A consensus among the 27 EU member countries on targeting gas would be more difficult to secure.

Speaking before the proposed ban, Mr Martin said that Ireland is pressing its EU counterparts for the strongest possible sanctions.

“We would favour the inclusion of oil and coal in this latest round of sanctions given the indiscriminate murder of civilians in Ukraine,” Mr Martin said.

“We have to do everything we possibly can to keep the pressure as a deterrent in this appalling, immoral war on the people of Ukraine.”

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, said the European Commission had “responded strongly” with new sanctions against Russia.

Mr Coveney said: “The sanctions package needs to continue to get tougher so that we continue to provide a very strong deterrent to Russia continuing this war and that means moving into the space of energy, oil, gas and coal as well as access to ports, as well as road access in terms of Russian hauliers.

“The European Commission has announced a fifth round of sanctions which has to be confirmed by member states. That does include a ban on coal which is worth about four billion euro between now and the end of the year.

“They have also said they are working on oil but aren’t in a position to make a decision on that today. It is a pretty strong fifth round of sanctions that involves a recommendation to ban access into EU ports, with some exemptions in terms of humanitarian aid and food.

“And it is targeting Russian banks well beyond where we have been to date. I think the commission has responded strongly. We would like to go even further, particularly in relation to oil.

“In terms of sanctions, Ireland continues to be at the sharp end of wanting to ensure that the deterrent is as strong as we can possibly make it.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Russian Embassy in Ireland is running out of fuel for heating and hot water following claims that Irish oil companies have refused to deliver supplies.

The Irish Daily Mirror reported that the embassy has written a letter to Mr Coveney’s department about the issue.

Mr Varadkar said that while he does not have sympathy for the Russian Embassy, there are rules in which Ireland must follow when hosting international diplomats.

“There are particular rules under the Vienna Conventions as to how we’re supposed to treat diplomats and diplomatic commissions in our country so I think they have to be followed.

“I actually didn’t have the chance to read that article so I don’t know the details.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in south Dublin to mark one month since the invasion of Ukraine (Damien Storan/PA)

More than 18,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland since the beginning of the war in February.

The Government has, in recent days, sought additional accommodation in hotels and is seeking other ways to increase supply.

“We’ve asked the Secretary General of the department to chair the task-force to deal with the pledges that are arrived in, to progress that as speedily as we can, so that we can take the pressure off,” Mr Martin added.

“I want to thank all the public servants in all departments including children, justice, housing, local authorities, and across the board for really rising up to this challenge, it has been an enormous challenge which has come very rapidly on the public and has been hot on the heels of the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne Nason dismissed Russia’s attempt to deny responsibility for the atrocities in Ukraine.

She told the UN Security Council: “Just minutes ago, here in this chamber, we have seen the utterly shocking images of civilians lying dead in the streets of Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine.

“Some, we know, are piled into improvised mass graves. Simply harrowing.

“So many innocent lives lost on our watch, as our pleas for peace go unheeded.

“The attempts here today to deny Russian culpability are frankly appalling in their cynicism and I see them as an insult to the memory of those slaughtered civilians.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Politics team

More from the Press and Journal