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Department of Foreign Affairs update on the situation in Ukraine

Speaking this morning from Belfast, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, welcomed today’s meeting of the United Nations Security Council focusing on the situation in Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

Noting the decision of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to travel to New York at short notice to address the meeting, Minister Coveney said:

 While we note Russia’s announcements of the end of some military exercises on the Ukrainian border, we will be clear at the UN Security Council today that we need to see sustained and credible moves on the ground towards genuine de-escalation.

This means significant withdrawal of both troops and equipment. We have not yet seen this.

Our Ambassador in New York will reiterate today Ireland’s full commitment to the core principles enshrined in the UN Charter, including the sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States.

Ukraine has the same fundamental right as every other sovereign and independent State to choose its own foreign policy and ensure the security and defence of its territory.

That right is self-evident. It is a right that our own history tells us is non-negotiable.

As the Taoiseach will underline in his meetings with European leaders today in Brussels, diplomacy and dialogue through existing mechanisms, including the Normandy format and the OSCE, is the only way forward.

Eastern Ukraine has already endured 8 years of conflict, resulting in a humanitarian disaster, serious human rights violations and abuses, as reported by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is time for a serious commitment to de-escalation, diplomacy, and compromise.

I look forward to intensive discussions with European and transatlantic partners on this issue at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, including with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba, and with EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels on Monday.

I would also emphasise that the situation remains very volatile and DFA continues to advise against all travel to Ukraine and urges citizens in Ukraine to leave by commercial means.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs is in direct and ongoing contact with Irish citizens in Ukraine who have registered with the Embassy in Kyiv, currently numbering 98.

The Department also continues to be in direct contact with families who have surrogacy arrangements in Ukraine and is providing support and assistance to them on an individual basis. Any citizen who requires emergency consular assistance can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs at 01-4082000.

ENDS

17 February 2022

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