Kelleher: Russian ambassador a ‘threatening menace’

Describing the Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov, as “a threatening menace”, Mr Kelleher said it was time to send the ambassador back to Moscow.
Kelleher: Russian ambassador a ‘threatening menace’

Describing the Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov, as “a threatening menace”, Mr Kelleher said it was time to send the ambassador back to Moscow. Photo: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

IRELAND South MEP Billy Kelleher has renewed his call for the Russian ambassador to be expelled.

Describing the Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov, as “a threatening menace”, Mr Kelleher said it was time to send the ambassador back to Moscow.

“He has told the Irish people civilians aren’t being attacked in Ukraine, but I have witnessed first-hand the destruction rained down on the people of Ukraine in Bucha and Irpin,” Mr Kelleher said. 

“I saw where houses were destroyed, fridges taken from the houses, televisions torn off the walls, pilfered by Russian troops, and I met elderly people who have been beaten up and assaulted inside their own homes by Russian troops. 

"I met women who were raped by Russian troops, and I saw young men who had been shot dead by Russian troops, so Mr Filatov should go,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil member of the European Parliament’s comments come after the Russian ambassador said plans for the Irish Defence Forces to participate in an EU demining training mission for Ukrainian soldiers meant that “Ireland would clearly be involved in the ongoing conflict in a direct way”.

Mr Filatov said that a Dáil debate about Ireland’s neutrality had illustrated that there was “no ambiguity about the fact that Ireland is not neutral in the Ukrainian conflict”.

IRELAND South MEP Billy Kelleher has renewed his call for the Russian ambassador to be expelled. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie
IRELAND South MEP Billy Kelleher has renewed his call for the Russian ambassador to be expelled. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Responding to the ambassador’s remarks, Mr Kelleher, who had previously offered to personally drive Mr Filatov to the airport on his way out of Ireland, said the ambassador lacked all credibility.

“Anything that is said by Mr. Filatov is said in a manner in a tone that’s condescending and offensive to the Irish people,” Mr Kelleher said. 

Mr Kelleher added that he believed Irish neutrality was in no way infringed by Defence Forces training Ukrainian personnel in demining. 

“This is about the Irish Army assisting in humanitarian training in demining. This is about ensuring that when a young when a child goes out to play, or a farmer goes out to plough, they don’t lose a leg,” he said.

“This is about the basic decency of Ireland offering assistance to a country to [decommission] mines that could do untold damage to people, so it has nothing to do with infringing neutrality, it’s about basic decency and humanity.” Asked whether he had raised this matter with the Taoiseach or with Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, Mr Kelleher said his opinions were well known. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Russian embassy were both contacted.

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