Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
86. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to any future intentions by the Russian military to revisit its plans to carry out naval exercises off the Irish coast; if Ireland has a contingency plan in the event of such a scenario; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22648/22]
The Deputy will be aware that, when Russia proposed to conduct naval exercises in part of Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone in February, I wrote to the Russian government and requested that these planned exercises in Ireland's EEZ not take place. The Russian government acceded to this request.
I am not aware of any future intentions by the Russian Federation to carry out naval exercises off the Irish coast. I will not comment publicly on any aspect of military contingency planning.
87. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has summoned the Russian Ambassador over Russian state television depiction of a nuclear attack upon Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22905/22]
89. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to Russian state television broadcasting a video simulating the obliteration of Ireland and Britain by a tsunami caused by a Russian nuclear weapon; if he has raised the matter with his Russian counterpart; if so, if he has received a response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22647/22]
102. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if, his Department has given further consideration to the expulsion of the Russian Ambassador given the escalation of violent rhetoric, by Russian state television against a militarily neutral country such as Ireland. [22906/22]
119. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he expects there to be any further reduction in the Russian diplomatic presence in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22916/22]
135. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a protest was made to the Russian embassy in relation to the recent simulations of nuclear attacks on Ireland on Russian state television; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22922/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 87, 89, 102, 119 and 135 together.
I am aware of a broadcast on a Russian television station which contained an animation depicting a wave hitting Ireland and Britain, caused by a Russian nuclear weapon.
We should not allow ourselves be distracted by such rhetoric from the real atrocities being committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I condemned Russia’s move to raise the alert levels of its strategic forces. There can be no justification for threatening use of nuclear weapons. In particular, I recall the statement of the heads of the five Nuclear Weapon States, including Russia, in January 2022, that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’.
Ireland continues to urge maximum restraint, de-escalation and the avoidance of any nuclear rhetoric, which will only worsen an already dangerous and unpredictable situation.
The judgement that the government has made is that despite our strong disagreement with the actions taken by Russia, it is better to keep diplomatic channels open, for a number of reasons. The first, fundamental, reason is that open lines of communication facilitate diplomacy - which is more important than ever in a conflict situation. Communication with the Ambassador also allows us to directly convey our disagreement with the Russian Government as it continues to fall short of its obligations. On 29 March, the Ambassador was informed that four senior officials from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Dublin were being expelled.
Secondly, diplomatic engagement helps us to better protect Irish interests, and to protect our citizens - in Russia and the five central Asian republics for which Ireland is represented by our Embassy in Moscow.
Finally, we need to consider our actions within the context of the wider EU response. Like all of our other responses during this crisis, we are coordinating closely with EU Member States and like minded partners.