- 06 Jul 22
The Taoiseach met the Ukrainian President in a display of Irish support for the war-torn country.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin is currently in Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. This marks the first official visit of a Taoiseach to the country after Zelenskyy extended an invitation two weeks ago. The visit comes on the heels of Vladimir Putin declared a victory in seizing the eastern Ukrainian province of Luhansk with the intention of continuing into the neighbouring Donetsk.
On his way to meet with the Ukrainian leader, Martin traveled through many war-torn towns including Borodyanka, which suffered in the wake of Russian shelling. In addition to witnessing the remains of ravaged warehouses and petrol stations, Martin visited the site of Bucha's mass grave. The grave is now accompanied by an exhibition of photographs that document the bodies left behind on the streets as Russian forces retreated.
🇮🇪🇺🇦Prime Minister of Ireland Micheál Martin today visited #Borodyanka, #Bucha, and #Irpin.
Micheál Martin saw with his own eyes the destruction caused by the bombing and targeted attacks on civilians during the invasion and occupation by russian forces. pic.twitter.com/N6gELMSlFV
— WithUkraine 24/7 (@With__Ukraine) July 6, 2022
In going to Ukraine, the Taoiseach hopes to express the Irish people's support for Ukraine and has denounced Russia's actions as part of an "illegal and immoral war." During the meeting, Martin will work with the Ukrainian authorities to determine how Ireland and the EU might best assist the country. The Fianna Fail leader has been an advocate for Ukraine's expedited addition to the EU for some time.
Before embarking on the trip, the Taoiseach declared that "the bombardment and attacks on civilians are nothing short of war crimes, and I will use my visit to express Ireland’s support for moves to hold those behind these attacks fully accountable. The spirit and resolve of the Ukrainian people has inspired us all, and Ireland will provide every support for Ukraine’s path to full EU Membership, and continue to welcome and support civilians fleeing this war."
Since the first invasion in February, Ireland has taken in over 36,000 Ukrainian refugees and given €20 million in humanitarian support. Ireland's donations of health equipment and medical donations add up to more than €4.5m. Zelenskyy has thanked Ireland for its "active support of Ukraine's European aspirations."
To those who have arrived here from Ukraine, I hope you find in Ireland safe harbour and friendship for as long as you need it. In the meantime, our home is your home.#StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/2LXtJuRFOA
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) April 6, 2022
This week, the Irish Film Institute launched "Untold Ukraine", a film festival that will run through July 27th.
Explaining the motivation behind the project, Nastya Kharytonova, the coordinator of Untold Ukraine, said, ‘We wanted to raise awareness about Ukraine as a country and a nation through art and culture. We want to showcase the creativity and resilience of Ukrainian people in the face of this devastating war, but also share what we love about our country and what its rich culture has to offer.’