By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA in Washington DC
The United States has led the free world in opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Leo Varadkar has said.
The Taoiseach thanked the US administration for standing with European governments in the face of Russian aggression.
He told a St Patrick’s Day lunch on Capitol Hill, hosted by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, that Russia was attempting to deny the people of Ukraine “any kind of future through its brutal invasion”.
“While Ireland is a militarily neutral country, we’re not politically neutral in the face of violations of international law and human rights,” he added.
“The past 13 months have united us all who believe in freedom and democracy, and the rule of law and the UN Charter.
“We stand with Ukraine because silence means surrender and we will not stay silent when liberty, freedom and fundamental human rights are being attacked.
“So, we will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We’ve seen so many times in history how the story ends if it’s not challenged. How appeasement, no matter how well intentioned, ultimately fails.
“I have to say I endorse the ongoing co-operation between Europe and the United States to help defend our Ukrainian friends.
“In the last century, America led the free world in the fight against fascism and communism and in this century America leads the free world once again and we thank you for that.”
Earlier, during their bilateral engagement at the White House, president Joe Biden thanked the Taoiseach for “standing together” with the US against the Russian invasion.
“It means a great deal speaking out against Russia’s brutal aggression,” he said.