solidarity show | 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin lands in Kyiv ahead of meeting with Volodymr Zelensky

The Taoiseach was invited to visit Ukraine by President Volodymr Zelensky
Taoiseach Michael Martin viewing the damage to the Borodyanka area. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach Michael Martin viewing the damage to the Borodyanka area. Niall Carson/PA Wire© PA

Taoiseach Michael Martin with local officials and members of the Irish Emergency Response Unit viewing the damage to the Borodyanka area of Kyiv, Ukraine. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach Michael Martin with local officials and members of the Irish Emergency Response Unit viewing the damage to the Borodyanka area of Kyiv, Ukraine. Niall Carson/PA Wire© PA

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin© PA

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky© PA

Senan MolonyPA Media

Micheal Martin will witness the damage caused by Russian forces on his visit to the Ukrainian capital.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has arrived in war-scarred Kyiv this morning.

He entered Ukraine by train after overnighting in Poland on his special mission to see the conflict’s damage for himself.

Mr Martin will also express the Irish people’s solidarity with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s "illegal and immoral" invasion.

On the visit he will engage with Ukrainian authorities and parliamentarians on how Ireland and the EU can support the country’s current, and future, needs.

The Taoiseach was invited to visit Ukraine by President Volodymr Zelensky on foot of Ireland’s strong support for Ukraine’s EU candidate bid last month.

Mr Martin will witness first-hand the devastation caused by the bombardment and targeted attacks on civilians during the invasion and occupation by Russian forces.

Mr Martin saw the destroyed bridge at Borodyanka, famous from countless TV reports as fleeing civilians crawled across, and spoke to the Governor about the devastation wreaked on the entire region.

It is thought likely he could tour the mass graves in Bucha, northwest of the capital, after Russian soldiers ran amok and slaughtered civilians in a series of outrages now being probed by UN war crimes investigators.

He will reiterate Ireland’s full backing for continuing sanctions against Putin’s regime, for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, as well as our commitment to work with EU colleagues to ensure the reconstruction of Ukraine.

The Taoiseach said today before his meeting with President Zelensky: “The people of Ireland stand with Ukraine and its people in the face of Russia’s immoral and unprovoked war of terror.

“The bombardment and attacks on civilians are nothing short of war crimes, and I will use my visit to express Ireland’s support for moves to hold those behind these attacks fully accountable.

“The spirit and resolve of the Ukrainian people has inspired us all, and Ireland will provide every support for Ukraine’s path to full EU Membership, and continue to welcome and support civilians fleeing this war.”

Mr Martin is travelling with a small entourage and a RTÉ television crew.

He will restate Ireland’s full backing for continuing sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, as well as Ireland’s commitment to work with the EU on the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Mr Martin’s trip comes two weeks after President Volodymyr Zelensky invited him to visit Ukraine.

Taoiseach Michael Martin with local officials and members of the Irish Emergency Response Unit viewing the damage to the Borodyanka area of Kyiv, Ukraine. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach Michael Martin with local officials and members of the Irish Emergency Response Unit viewing the damage to the Borodyanka area of Kyiv, Ukraine. Niall Carson/PA Wire© PA

It is the first visit by a Taoiseach to the eastern European country.

It also comes after Mr Putin on Monday declared victory in seizing the eastern Ukrainian province of Luhansk, with his troops escalating their offensive in neighbouring Donetsk.

Mr Martin has warned previously that the Russian president appeared to be leveraging its natural gas supplies to exert maximum pressure on Europe ahead of the winter period.

The Taoiseach has also been a vocal advocate for Ukraine’s fast-tracked membership of the EU.

Mr Zelensky has previously thanked Ireland for its “active support of Ukraine’s European aspirations”.

Ireland has also taken in more than 36,000 Ukrainian refugees since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine at the end of February.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky© PA

The Irish State has given 20 million euro in humanitarian support and assistance to the country, as well as health equipment and medical donations worth more than 4.5 million euro.

In April, Simon Coveney became the first foreign minister of the UN Security Council to visit Kyiv, and met Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and defence minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Mr Coveney also visited the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of the capital, where suspected killings of civilians prompted global condemnation.


Today's Headlines

More Irish News

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices