Ireland to call for ‘full accountability’ for atrocities in Ukraine

Coveney to press for immediate halt to Russian aggression at UN meeting

Ireland will use its position on the United Nations Security Council to press for an immediate halt to Russian aggression in Ukraine and for full accountability for the atrocities uncovered, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.

Simon Coveney also said Ireland was very concerned that hundreds of thousands of lives could be lost as a result of further Russian attacks anticipated in the east of Ukraine.

He is scheduled to address a meeting of the security council on the war in Ukraine in New York on Tuesday after last week becoming the first minister for foreign affairs from a state with a seat on the council to visit Kyiv since the war began.

Mr Coveney visited Bucha, close to Kyiv, where mass graves were discovered after Russian forces withdrew.


Ahead of his address, the Minister said he had given Ireland’s commitment in meetings with senior Ukrainian government figures “to continue to use our voice at the highest level in the EU and at the UN Security Council to call for an immediate halt to Russian aggression in Ukraine and for a genuine commitment to a negotiated solution”.

“I’m using the earliest opportunity at the security council to do this,” he said.

“The Ukrainian people need and deserve full accountability for the atrocities that continue to be uncovered daily. I will be using Ireland’s voice at the security council to emphasise this. I will also be raising our grave concerns that we are facing into renewed Russian attacks in the east of Ukraine, with hundreds of thousands of lives at stake.”

Humanitarian toll

The Minister said the humanitarian toll of the Russian invasion on civilians had been “unconscionable”, with two-thirds of Ukrainian children having been displaced from their homes.

"This madness can stop today if Russia agrees to an immediate ceasefire, a withdrawal to pre-February 24th positions and a commitment to a dialogue. I commend Turkey's efforts in hosting talks between the parties in Istanbul and urge all UN member states to support diplomatic efforts," he added.

During his visit to Kyiv on Thursday, Mr Coveney said Ireland wanted Russia to answer for “mass murder” and probable war crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine. He said also the State fully supported Moscow being sanctioned through a proposed EU oil embargo and that Ireland would back Kyiv’s ambition to join the bloc.

The Minister explained that Ireland would not send weapons to Ukraine but would continue to provide non-lethal equipment to its armed forces and offer safe haven to those fleeing an invasion which has killed thousands and displaced millions. About 25,000 Ukrainian refugees have come to Ireland since the country was invaded in late February.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent