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Tánaiste Micheál Martin Sasko Lazarov via RollingNews.ie
perspective

'Get real': Tánaiste defends rifle training for Ukrainian soldiers, says it's 'non-lethal' aid

Martin said that the aid given by Ireland is ‘minor’ compared to the assistance given by other European countries.

TÁNAISTE MICHEÁL MARTIN has defended rifle training given to Ukrainian soldiers by the Irish State, saying it is ‘minor’ compared to the aid given by other European countries.

Martin met President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv this week, where he reaffirmed his support for Ukraine amid the invasion. 

Speaking in the Dáil last night, the Tánaiste said politicians “have got to get real” about the type of assistance Ireland is providing.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly was unconvinced by the Martin’s assertion that this aid is non-lethal.

“Ireland is a neutral country.  We should offer any humanitarian assistance we can. We are joining up more and more with a military alliance, despite what the Tánaiste tells us,” she said.

Martin described this as “an incredible overstatement”.

“I did not discuss the training with President Zelensky because it is on a very minor scale compared to what every other member of the European Union is doing bar Ireland, Malta, and Austria,” he said.

“We have to get real here. We are not providing any military support in the form of hardware or weaponry to the Ukraine, and nor should we suggest that we are.”

Martin called on the Dáil to “have some perspective”.

“This is hyperbole, beyond hyperbole. I have outlined what we have done so far: de-mining and medical combat.

“That is all we’ve done, lads. We have done two or three programmes involving six personnel,” he said.

“People are horrified and say this represents a flagrant breach of our military neutrality? 

“Do you know what the big issue in Ukraine right now is? An aerial bombardment that will freeze them to death over the next winter. That is the enormity of the issues they are facing.”

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