Russia accuses Ireland of ‘criminal behaviour’ and of participating in Ukraine war

Criticism comes after EU deal to seize profits from frozen Russian assets to fund weapons for Ukraine

Ireland has engaged in “criminal behaviour” by supporting the seizure of Russian funds for use in Ukraine and should be prepared for an “inevitable response”, Moscow’s embassy in Dublin has said.

It is among the strongest criticisms of Irish foreign policy from Moscow since the beginning of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago.

Earlier this month, European Union member states, including Ireland, reached a deal to seize profits from Russia’s frozen assets to fund weapons and aid for Ukraine.

The money will come from the interest earned on the roughly €200 billion in Russian Central Bank funds held in the EU which were immobilised in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

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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 plan, which was formally adopted this week, drew an angry response on Friday from the Russian embassy in Dublin, which is headed by ambassador Yuriy Filatov.

“The Irish Government has signed up for this unprecedented and illegal decision, which has nothing to do with the norms of international law and so-called ‘rules based order’, hailed by Ireland.”

The embassy 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.

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