State will continue to hold Russia accountable for ‘unprovoked’ Ukraine war, says department

Russian officials warn of ‘inevitable response’ to Ireland’s ‘criminal behaviour’ relating to EU deal on using frozen Moscow assets

The Government will continue to support efforts “to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked war on Ukraine” despite threats from the Russian officials of an “inevitable response” to Ireland’s “criminal behaviour”.

Responding to criticism from the Russian embassy in Dublin, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) doubled down on the European Union’s decision to seize profits from Russia’s frozen assets to fund weapons and aid for Ukraine.

In a statement, the DFA said Irish support efforts would include “the use of revenue from frozen Russian assets to finance Ukrainian security and reconstruction needs”.

As Irish institutions do not hold any sovereign Russian assets, the EU’s decision “does not directly affect the Russian assets held and frozen in Ireland by sanctioned individuals and entities, amounting to approximately €1.9 billion”, noted the department.


Last week, all 27 EU member states formally adopted a deal to use the “extraordinary revenue generated from immobilised Russian sovereign assets” to support Ukraine, said the department. The money will come from the interest earned on the roughly €200 billion in Russian Central Bank funds held in the EU

The decision followed an EU agreement in February that this revenue be used to support Ukraine “as it seeks to protect its territorial integrity, sovereignty and its people from the ongoing brutal and illegal Russian invasion,” said the DFA statement.

The Russian embassy in Dublin, which is headed by ambassador Yuriy Filatov, strongly criticised the State for signing up to the deal, accusing Ireland of engaging in “criminal behaviour”.

The move is a compromise deal and stops short of seizing the deposits entirely. It will free up about €3 billion a year which will be sent to Ukraine in the form of cash and military materiel.

In line with its policy of military neutrality, Ireland abstained from agreeing to support the use of the funds for lethal military aid. However, it will support the money being used for non-lethal supplies.

The Russian embassy accused the State of signing up to an “unprecedented and illegal decision, which has nothing to do with the norms of international law and so-called ‘rules based order’, hailed by Ireland”.

It accused Ireland of being an accomplice in “outright theft” and said it has now shown itself to be a “participant in the West’s hybrid war against Russia”.

“What had begun with EU sanctions and freezing of the Russian state assets is now a full scale robbery in a broad daylight, similar to what the West has previously done to other countries, which were deemed as ‘hostile’ to Washington or Brussels.”

The embassy claimed the move will inevitably lead to a “further economic decline of the EU” as well as other consequences.

Ireland is “responsible” for the seizure and “should be prepared to take responsibility for their actions,” it said. The embassy called the move “an economic aggression in clear violation of all legal norms and a hostile political act”.

It said its response will be “inevitable” and “will come in the form that best suits Russia’s interests”.

Ireland has donated more than €90 million to Ukraine in stabilisation and humanitarian support since the war stated as well as committing to providing some €250 million in non-lethal military assistance.

The Defence Forces has also trained 400 Ukrainian troops in various fields including tactical combat casualty care, demining and drill instruction training.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast