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outspoken ‘I’ve never had contempt for another human being but I do now’ – Mary McAleese speaks out about Vladimir Putin

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Mary McAleese. Photo: David Conachy

Mary McAleese. Photo: David Conachy

Mary McAleese. Photo: David Conachy

Former president Mary McAleese has condemned the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ms McAleese also revealed she has written to the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov, three times since the war began on February 24.

Speaking on the Late Late Show alongside Mary Robinson, the two former presidents spoke out about the violent attacks on civilians across Ukraine.

“I’ve written to him three times now, in terms that I couldn’t possibly publish. I’m very angry about this, and like everybody I’m angry but I’ll tell you what I find hard to deal with,” Ms McAleese said.

“I’ve never been a person who ever had contempt for another human being, ever. I don’t remember ever being contemptuous, but I certainly am now. Of that man, and of what he represents, and how he lied to us.”

Ms McAleese said the only irony of the situation was that Mr Filatov told a Russian TV channel that Ireland was “hostile” towards the country.

Last week, Mr Filatov listed out a series of complaints against the treatment of Russians in Ireland to Russia-24, the state-owned Russian-language news channel, in an extraordinary interview.

“And the only good thing, if there is any good thing at all to be said here, we know that he went on Russian television and said that the Irish people were hostile to Russia and that they were treating him and his colleagues very badly,” she said.

“Now I’m sure that’s a narrative that Putin wouldn’t want to be told, that we small nation like Ireland had taken sides.

“Particularly in so-called ‘neutral’ nation, so I’m grateful actually that in an ironic kind of way and a sardonic kind of way, that he brought a message to the Russian people that through their own fake press and their own fake news, but he actually brought a truth about us as a people.”

Ms McAleese said she Putin has driven Russia into “pariah status right around the world”.

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“That yes, we have taken a side here. And we’re going to continue taking that side until the Russian people realise that hopefully they will have it within their power, some of these days, to neutralise this militant, demagogic, this appalling anti human man who drives their country into pariah status right around the world,” she said.

She also revealed that she has applied to offer accommodation to a Ukraine family fleeing the conflict, she said: “Please God, we’ll get them in. We have already signed up and hopefully we will be able to.”


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