Russia keeps planned military exercises away from Irish coast

At the request of the Irish government, Russia plans to move planned military exercises out of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), officials from both countries confirmed.

Considerable controversy in Ireland after it was revealed in early February that the planned artillery training was scheduled to take place in the high seas off the southwest coast of Ireland in Irish airspace and the exclusive economic zone. Caused.

Irish fishermen planned to travel to the area to disrupt the Russian Navy’s plans to protect their release.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on January 29 that he had been guaranteed that training would be transferred from his Russian counterpart.

Coveny wrote on Twitter: Tonight I received a letter confirming that the Russian exercises will be relocated outside the Irish EEZ. We welcome this answer. “

In a statement, Yuri Firatov, the Russian ambassador to Ireland, said: As a well-meaning gesture, the Russian Navy’s exercise scheduled for February 3-8 is the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with the aim of not interfering with the fishing activities of Irish vessels in traditional fishing. Area to relocate outside). “

Russia has gathered an estimated 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, demanding that Ukraine not join NATO.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stortenberg told the BBC on January 30 that Russia’s “no certainty about its intentions” but the “real risk” of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine.

Russia has denied planning an invasion, stating that the Western accusations are merely a cover of NATO’s own planned provocation.

Coveny said on January 24 that the planned training on the Irish coast was “unwelcome.” “This is not the time to increase military activity and tensions in the context of what is happening in Ukraine.”

He added that Ireland “has no power to prevent this, but has made it clear to the Russian ambassador to Ireland that it is certainly unwelcome.”

Jack Phillips and PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan