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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar speaking earlier today on the Russian sanctions Sam Boal
not Russian over

Government reiterates support for Ukraine despite Russian entry ban

TDs also issued new calls for the Russian Ambassador, Yuri Filatov, to be expelled.

THE TAOISEACH AND Tánaiste have reiterated their support for Ukraine after being sanctioned, amid renewed calls for the Government to expel the Russian ambassador.

Earlier today, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it would be banning over 50 Irish officials from entering the country as part of new sanction measures.

This included the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Justice Minister Helen McEntee, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that he was aware he had been sanctioned by the Russian government and that it was due to Ireland’s support for Ukraine.

“I know the reason why it is and that’s because I’m a member of a government and a citizen of a country that is standing four-square behind Ukraine,” Varadkar said.

“Ukraine is an independent, sovereign democratic European country that has been invaded, and Russia is the aggressor here. Ukraine is the victim and I’m proud of the fact that we, as a country, are standing behind Ukraine.”

 Taoiseach Micheál Martin also reiterated his support for Ukraine in a tweet this afternoon.

“I will make no apology for speaking the truth about Russia’s immoral and illegal war. We stand with the people of Ukraine,” Martin tweeted.

He also spoke about it in the Dáil this afternoon, saying that he did not think he had been sanctioned before, adding that it was part of a “broader propaganda war being waged by Russia”.

Following the announcement earlier this afternoon, TDs began to renew their calls for the Russian Ambassador, Yuri Filatov, to be expelled.

In a statement, Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson John Brady called for Filatov to be immediately expelled, saying that the sanctions on Irish politicians were “reprehensible”.

“The Russian censure of Irish politicians is yet another reprehensible attempt by Vladimir Putin to silence and intimidate those who have rightly called out his despicable invasion of Ukraine,” said Brady.

“Russia has long since closed the door on dialogue diplomacy. But despite this, ever since the invasion of Ukraine seven months ago, the Russian Embassy and Ambassador Yuri Filatov have been allowed to act as unapologetic propagandists for Russian aggression.

“The most powerful action that Ireland can take as a militarily-neutral and non-aligned state is to expel Yuri Filatov immediately.”

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Rathdown, Neale Richmond, also called for Filatov to be expelled, telling the Dáil that the Russian Embassy needed to now be shut down.

“This is a disappointing occurrence and a further act from a terrorist regime raining misery on our continent,” said Richmond.

“Is it not finally time to shut down the Russian Embassy in my constituency, expel the ambassador and cut off the constant channel of misinformation, disinformation and aggression from these so-called diplomats?”

When asked if he was considering expelling Filatov after the sanctions were announced, the Tánaiste said that it was a time for “cool heads”.

He added that the Government would consider any action like expelling an ambassador “very carefully”.

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