The Russian Ambassador to Ireland has complained that protests outside his embassy are “very aggressive” and alleged that staff have received death threats.
"At present, we're dealing with an extremely tense situation in the embassy,” Yury Filatov said.
“Our employees are constantly receiving death threats at their home addresses, by email and by telephone.”
"For several days now protests have been taking place at the embassy with varying degrees of intensity, often violent and very aggressive.”
The embassy has been the focal point for demonstrations in Ireland against Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said people had every right to protest:
“Irish people are angry, Irish people are disgusted with what they’re seeing,” Minister Coveney told Newstalk.
“We have war on the continent of Europe on a massive scale and most people thought that those kinds of images had been consigned to history.
“But Russia has decided to change that and Irish people are as angry as other Europeans… and want it to stop.
“And that’s why we’ve been so vocal and I think we’ll continue to be throughout this war.”
Expulsion of ambassador
Last week Charlie Flanagan, the Chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Anton Savage Show that the ambassador should be expelled after he “lied through his teeth about the invasion.”
However, the Government has taken a more cautious approach and Europe Minister Thomas Byrne said they would allow him to stay because Ireland needs a diplomatic presence in Russia to help citizens who get into difficulty. He caveated that action might be taken at a later date if an EU-wide decision to expel Russian diplomats is taken:
“First of all we want to do this at a European level, so there is a common approach. That’s far more effective, if everyone does the same thing,” Minister Byrne said.
“We also want to make sure that if we have problems with Irish citizens in Russia, that there is someone there to help them.
“Because obviously, if you expel diplomats here, there’s a tit for tat and Irish diplomats get expelled on the other side.
“So this has been under discussion at European level. I’ve no doubt it will continue to be under discussion but whatever happens will be a common European approach.”
Main image: The Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov holds a media briefing.