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Protest Man arrested after crashing 'communion supplies van' into Dublin Russian embassy

The driver said he carried out his protest after seeing news of civilian deaths in Ukraine


The driver of a truck who drove into the gates of the Russian embassy in Dublin said he carried out his protest after seeing news of civilian deaths in Ukraine.

The man was arrested by gardaí after the incident at around 1.20pm at the premises on Orwell Road.

Video shows a truck reversing through the closed gates and stopping halfway in, before the driver gets out.

In a video taken by a witness at the scene afterwards, the driver of the truck holds up a picture of a family killed in Ukraine, copies of which he handed out to protesters nearby.

He said: “I just done this to create a safe corridor for the Russian ambassador to leave Ireland, go through Poland then walk through Europe.”

Russia was today criticised for vowing to create ‘safe’ routes for refugees even though those routes would only carry them to Russia and its ally Belarus, while there were also accusations of a civilian corridor from the port city of Mariupol were mined by Russian troops.

Pointing at the picture of a family killed by Russian shelling the driver says: “I done it for this lady here and her kids who were killed in Irpin. It really affected me last night, I’m doing it for them.

“So I want the ambassador and his colleagues to leave this free country.”

“In Ireland we like justice,” he said, as he handed out printed copies of the picture.

Bystanders praised his actions and said he was “a credit”.

He handed the picture to a garda before he was arrested, and went with the gardaí into the garda car without complaint, saying: “Send the ambassador home”, to shouts of “Bravo!” from the bystanders.

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"I’ve done my bit, lads. It’s about time the rest of Ireland done their bit,” he said as he was led away.

The Russian Embassy has been the focus of protests over Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine over the past week, with paint thrown over the insignia outside the gates and calls for ambassador Yuriy Filatov and other Russian diplomats to be expelled.

The incident happened at about 1.20pm on Monday, gardaí said.

A garda spokesman said an incident of criminal damage at the property was being investigated.

The arrested man has been taken to Rathfarnham garda station.

The Russian embassy has been contacted for comment.

A witness, Luksz Ruz, who took the video of the driver’s statement, said he was protesting at the gates of the embassy with a small number of others when the truck parked outside.

“The driver said the Russians had killed innocent families in Ukraine, and he showed us pictures of the people on the ground,” he said.

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The truck that crashed through the gates of the Russian Embassy in south Dublin. Picture: Collins

The truck that crashed through the gates of the Russian Embassy in south Dublin. Picture: Collins

The truck that crashed through the gates of the Russian Embassy in south Dublin. Picture: Collins

“He said he wanted to destroy the gate, and he reversed into it. He destroyed the gate.”

“There was one garda here at the time and he arrested the driver,” he added.

Another witness, John Nolan, said at first he thought the truck driver was looking for directions.

“He appeared to be reversing into the gateway where we were protesting, so we had to move aside,” he said.

“He reversed a lot faster than we through the would and took the gates with him, so he was obviously taking some direct action.”

Mr Nolan also referred to the photograph in circulation of the innocent family killed by the Russian forces.

“He was obviously very emotionally upset, which I can understand having seen the photo myself,” he added.

“There was a garda car up the road at the time but he wasn’t in the immediate vicinity,” he said.

Gardaí sealed off the scene, and the rigid body truck remained reversed into the embassy driveway with the damaged gate visible behind it.

At 3.15 a tow truck came to remove the lorry.

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The truck that crashed through the gates of the Russian Embassy in south Dublin. Picture: Collins

The truck that crashed through the gates of the Russian Embassy in south Dublin. Picture: Collins

The truck that crashed through the gates of the Russian Embassy in south Dublin. Picture: Collins

 

The truck that went into the gate at the Russian Embassy is from Desmond Wisley Ecclesiastical Supplies. When The Sunday World rang the office, a woman who answered said she had only just heard of the incident, and didn’t know whether the driver of the truck was an employee or not.

In a statement this afternoon, the Russian embassy condemned what it called a “criminal act of insanity”.

"On March 7, 2022, 13:30pm, a large truck came over to the gates of the Embassy, pulled back and torn down the gates of the Embassy. The incident took place in the presence of Garda officers, who stood idle,” it said.

“The Embassy strongly condemns this criminal act of insanity directed against peaceful diplomatic mission. The Embassy views this incident as a clear and blatant violation of the Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations of 1961.

"The Embassy is in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland, demanding that the Irish authorities take comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of it’s staff and their family members.

“The incident is cause of extreme concern. We believe that no people of sound mind could support such senseless and barbaric actions."

More to follow…
 

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