solidarity | 

Taoiseach tells Zelensky Ireland will increase funds to bring ‘war criminals’ to justice

Micheál Martin said the Russian invasion of ‘beautiful, democratic' Ukraine was a ‘gross violation of international law’
Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the city of Irpin, Ukraine. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the city of Irpin, Ukraine. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire© PA


Ireland has increased its financial contribution to the International Criminal Court in order to help bring war criminals to justice, the Taoiseach has told a press conference in Kyiv.

Micheál Martin, flanked by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the Russian invasion of the “beautiful, democratic country” of Ukraine was a “gross violation of international law” as well as an affront to everything Ireland stands for.

He said he had already told the Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin of Ireland’s view that their invasion was “unwarranted aggression”.

Mr Zelensky thanked “our Irish friends” for cancelling visas for Ukrainian citizens who had become refugees, which was a welcome gesture of solidarity.

He also thanked Ireland for its support for future Ukrainian reconstruction, saying: “Ukraine appreciates everything Ireland has done.”

Mr Zelensky said Russia had carried out genocide against his country.

He said he believed the Taoiseach had not seen any Nato bases in Borodyansk, Bucha or Irpin on his visit to see the devastation and mass graves brought about by the Russian war criminals.

Mr Zelensky also thanked Mr Martin for Ireland’s support for Ukraine’s EU membership candidacy. “I am very grateful for your support,” he said. “We have turned a new page of bilateral relations between Ireland and Ukraine.”

Mr Martin expressed admiration for Mr Zelensky’s leadership, saying the Irish people “are with you”.

Russia’s aggression could not and would not be allowed to stand, Mr Martin said.

He had learned of the atrocities committed in the three towns he visited and was told of the great need to get kindergartens and schools opened this September.

“The use of terror and the deliberate targeting of civilians are war crimes,” he said, and those committing them would be held accountable with no hiding place.

“That is why we have provided additional funding to the International Criminal Court, to give it the capacity to follow up on these crimes,” he said.

The Taoiseach paid tribute to Mr Zelensky on achieving EU candidate status. The values that people were fighting and dying for in Ukraine were European values and Irish values, he said.

The outcome was “richly deserved” and “Ireland will be with you every step of the way on the journey” to membership, he said. “We will do everything we can to help you work with the EU institutions and Commission.”

Irish people had been “enormously moved” by the suffering and courage of the people of Ukraine and every Irish town and city was “a sea of yellow and blue”, he said.

“We have welcomed almost 40,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war. Our home is your home.

“But we do know that they want to come back home, and you want them back as quickly as possible also,” he said.

He said both Ireland and Ukraine had experienced famine. “We are equally horrified now that food could be again used today as an instrument of war,” Mr Martin said.

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