‘Now, the question is where Putin stops’, says Ukraine ambassador to Ireland

Lessons from the past need to be recalled, says Larysa Gerasko

The world cannot allow history to repeat itself and must recall the lessons from the past, the Ukraine ambassador to Ireland has said following Russia's invasion of her home country.

On Thursday, Russia launched an armed conflict in Ukraine, assaulting by land, sea and air in the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since the second World War.

Russian president Vladimir Putin announced the action during a televised address early on Thursday morning, saying the move was a response to threats from Ukraine.

Speaking at the Ukraine embassy in Dublin on Thursday afternoon, Ambassador Larysa Gerasko said her country is facing a "challenging, alarming and frightening time".


“The last time we saw such action was the second world war when another utilitarian ruler decided he had the right to redraw borders of a sovereign state. History repeats itself,” she said.

“That is what we know from the school books. We cannot let this happen again. Lessons from the past need to be recalled. I would like to underline that if the world does not stop Putin, the world will suffer.”

Ukraine has activated its right to self-defence, she said, and has cut off diplomatic relations with Russia.

“We invite our partners to follow our example. We think it is unacceptable to maintain diplomatic relations with an aggressive state which openly attacks its neighbour,” the ambassador said.

“Those expressing support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine will be considered aggressors as well. We urge the international community to show solidarity with Ukraine by imposing massive co-ordinated sanctions against Russia.”

Ms Gerasko said she was “very shocked” when she first heard of the invasion. Her parents live 150km from the northern border, near where Russian military forces were shelling.

“I was shocked because yesterday I was still hoping and fully committed to a peaceful resolution. We tried to do everything and to use all possible means to reach peaceful resolution,” she said.

“Now, the question is where Putin stops. We are ready to return to the roundtable of negotiations and of course our western partners, the EU member states, the UK and the USA, will use all possible means to return Russia to the table for further negotiations.”

She has called on the EU to agree to a stronger sanctions package, which targets a “wider number of entities”, including Russian Banks, Russian companies and Russian oligarchs.

She also urged the international community to support Ukraine with weapons, protective equipment, fuel and “whatever is necessary to counter the biggest army in the continent”.

Ms Gerasko also called for the halting of the issuing of Irish visas to citizens of Russia, and to assist in family reunification for Ukraine nationals living in Ireland, who have family still living in their home country.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times