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Varadkar Alamy
European Union

'This is our war too': Varadkar warns Putin's ambitions will not stop at Ukraine

The Taoiseach said Ukraine must be given the tools it needs to defend itself.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said Europe must do more to support Ukraine and warned that Putin’s ambitions do not stop at the Ukrainian borders. 

Addressing his fellow European People’s Party members at the group’s two day congress in Bucharest today, the Taoiseach used his speech to highlight the threat posed by Putin. 

He told delegates: “For over two years we have witnessed the brutal Russian assault on the people of Ukraine.

“Colleagues, Ireland is at the edge of western Europe, but we have opened our hearts and doors to the people of Ukraine.

“I do not believe that Putin’s ambitions will stop at Ukraine. This is our war too and it’s not just happening on Ukraine’s territory.”

Varadkar said the war is happening all around us “in our seas, and in the form of physical and cyber attacks”.

He added: “As one of my forebears said, a Europe worth building is a Europe with defending.”

He said this should be done by developing PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) – the European Union’s defence co-operation programme.

Varadkar echoed the message of President of the European Commission and fellow EPP member Ursula von der Leyen who said today that there can be “no doubt” that Europe will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.

He said the EPP’s message to the Kremlin is that Russia cannot win the war.

“We will do more to help Ukraine in the coming months and years. That involves military assistance, finance, humanitarian and political support.

“The people in Ukraine are fighting, sacrificing their lives for European values. Fighting for democracy, liberty and the rule of law.

“The least we can do is provide them with the tools they need to defend their country and their homes – and progress EU accession negotiations as quickly as possible,” he said.