Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
105. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the support that is being made available by Ireland directly to support the ongoing efforts to shelter and provide for Ukrainians driven from their homeland by the aggression of the military forces of President Putin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23174/22]
I remain extremely concerned by the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
In addition to prepositioned funds with UN and other partners, my Department, through the Irish Aid programme, has made over €20 million available to respond to the needs of Ukrainians most affected by the Russian invasion. This includes funding through UN agencies including UN OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO, as well as the Red Cross Movement. This includes support to refugees in Poland and Moldova, as well as those internally displaced and has enabled immediate assistance to be delivered to Ukrainians in need.
My Department is also supporting Irish NGOs working in partnership with local civil society in Ukraine and its neighbours are being supported through a dedicated civil society fund. Ireland has provided In-kind assistance of medical supplies in response to a request by the Ukrainian government.
Taken together, these Irish Aid interventions are enabling partners efforts to support over 3.5 million Ukrainian people in need, with our focus on the priorities for assistance identified by the UN. These include cash, education, food security, health, protection for women and children, shelter and sanitation. For example, Irish Aid assistance is enabling UNHCR to maintain 145 temporary reception centres. To date, more than 66,000 children have been engaged in formal or non-formal education provided by UNICEF. The ICRC has distributed over 2,000 tonnes of medical supplies, food and relief items.
The Irish Aid rapid response register has been activated and a number of Irish rapid responders have been deployed to work with our UN stand-by partners in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
This Irish Aid support is additional to the efforts at home, which have seen over 27,000 Ukrainian refugees welcomed in Ireland so far.
108. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the engagement he has had at a European Union and United Nations level in relation to the war in Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22971/22]
121. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps that are being taken by Ireland and the European Union to support Ukraine and Ukrainian people given the current conflict; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22910/22]
137. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to Parliamentary Question No. 119 of 24 March 2022, if he will report on his engagement with Russia, either bilaterally or through Ireland’s membership of the United Nations Security Council, to bring about an end to the war in Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22872/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 108, 109, 121, 126, 137 and 141 together.
Ireland has been staunch and unwavering in its support to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
Since Russia's further invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, my officials have formally registered Ireland's opposition to Russia's actions with the Russian Ambassador. Ireland stands ready to support any initiative which can deliver peace, in line with international humanitarian law as well as international human rights norms and standards, and which respects Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
I witnessed with my own eyes the shocking aftermath of the devastation in the Ukrainian town of Bucha. I expressed to the Mayor of Bucha the sincere condolences of the Irish Government and people. I committed to bearing witness to these terrible atrocities and to raising the situation internationally. Those who perpetrated these heinous crimes must be brought to justice.
On 19 April, as I promised to the mayor of Bucha and Foreign Minister Kuleba, I briefed the UN Security Council on my visit to Ukraine. I described how I stood at the edge of one of the mass graves, where the work of carefully exhuming bodies continued. 503 civilians had been identified at that stage - and just 4 soldiers. At the UN Security Council, I was clear that these facts speak to an utter disregard by Russian forces for their clear and unambiguous obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians. Ireland will continue to use our membership on the UN Security Council to hold Russia accountable for its actions.
Ireland is one of over 40 countries that referred the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is providing a further €3 million to the ICC. Investigation teams from the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC are already actively collecting evidence from Ukraine.
On 4 May, the European Commission presented proposals for a sixth package of sanctions aimed at depriving Russia and Belarus of the ability to wage war on Ukraine. The package will include additional listings of individuals and entities, including high-ranking military officers and other individuals deemed to have been involved in committing atrocities in Bucha and in the siege of the city of Mariupol.
The package also targets additional Russian and Belarussian banks, including Sberbank, Russia's largest bank. Three big Russian state-owned broadcasters responsible for Russian state propaganda will be sanctioned, and will be unable to distribute their content in any form in the EU or attract advertising. The package also targets services, including accountancy, public relations and consultancy services to Russian companies.
A complete import ban on all Russian oil is also proposed, to be introduced in an orderly fashion, it is hoped agreement can be reached soon to ensure that EU Member States can secure alternative supplies. Crude oil will be phased out within six months, and refined products such as petrol and diesel by the end of the year. There are also provisions to prevent Russia from diversifying its client base for oil products, including a ban on the provision of insurance and financing for the shipping of Russian oil.
Ireland has allocated €20 million in direct humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and neighbouring countries, via the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies. Additionally, at EU level, Ireland has contributed €11.5m to an EU humanitarian assistance package of €550m.
The EU is providing a €1.5 billion package of European Peace Facility (EPF) support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Ireland is contributing its full share (€33 million), which will go towards non-lethal elements only.
As I re-iterated when I met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba in April, Ireland fully supports Ukraine's application for EU Membership. We have come together with a group of other Member States, with a view to providing political and practical assistance in support of Ukraine’s European perspective.
In February, the EU Council agreed a €1.2 billion emergency macro-financial assistance package for Ukraine. Preparations for the swift disbursement of the second €600 million tranche of this assistance are underway.
EU leaders agreed to develop a Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund with a view to the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine, once the Russian onslaught has ceased.
Ireland has and will continue to play an active, constructive and compassionate role at EU level in meeting the challenges which arise from Russia's illegal military aggression.