Ukrainians gather outside Irish parliament in anger at Russian invasion

The crowd chanted, waved Ukrainian flags and carried placards attacking the full-scale invasion launched by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

24 February 2022

Dozens of Ukrainians gathered outside the Irish parliament on Thursday to express their anger at the Russian assault on their country.

The crowd chanted, waved Ukrainian flags and carried placards attacking the full-scale invasion launched by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

They were joined briefly by Taoiseach Micheal Martin, who stopped to talk to some of those who had gathered on Kildare Street.

Mr Martin told the demonstrators that Ireland would work within the EU to respond to the crisis and promised to “keep in touch” with the Ukrainian community in Ireland to offer any help they require.

Other Irish politicians joined the protesters over the course of the afternoon, including deputy premier Leo Varadkar and chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee Charlie Flanagan.

Inside the Irish parliament, politicians spent much of Thursday reacting to the crisis in eastern Europe.

The Government, which has announced a visa waiver for Ukrainians trying to enter Ireland, was urged to do all it can to support the country.

Ada Pungas, who lives in Balbriggan in Co Dublin, said that her family were still in Ukraine.

She said that people at home were trying not to panic.

“Panic has worked for Putin.

“That’s what he wants,” she said.

“We pray for our army and we trust our army.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Members of An Garda at the entrance to the Embassy of Russia (Brian Lawless/PA)

She said that the entire world needs to support Ukraine against actions of Russian and Mr Putin.

“If he cracks Ukraine, he will never stop.

“His goal is to destroy all of Europe.”

Drivers beeped horns in expressions of support for the protesters, which grew in size in the early afternoon.

Protesters said that they would stay outside the parliament all day.

The entrance to the Russian Embassy on the south side of Dublin was splashed with red paint on Thursday morning, as news broke of the Russian attack.

Olga Popova, who is from Russia, joined the demonstration in Dublin city centre.

“I think that Russia has made a big mistake, to kill Ukrainian people.

“Russia doesn’t need any Ukrainian territory.

“They need to solve their own problems.

“We don’t need to have war in this good country.”

Teodor Navickas, who is half Lithuanian and half Ukrainian, said: “I was awake at 5am this morning when my parents called me and said they had bad news.

“My town is in the middle of Ukraine and it was bombed. By 8am, a man on his bicycle died in a bomb just because he was in the wrong place in the middle of the town.

“Putin just wants more land. What does he want to do with it? These are his ambitions.”

Martin Iglody attended the protest with his 11-year-old son Anthony and Ukrainian wife after travelling from their Cork home.

“I came here in solidarity and to support the people of Ukraine because I strongly condemn this action of the Russians”, he said.

“I ask Europe and the world to do something, finally, that can help stop the Russian invasion and stop what they are doing.

“The same happened in Georgia and the annexation of Crimea. The same will continue if we don’t do something now. And if Ukraine fails, they will continue to Slovakia and continue to Poland and go from there.

“They are completely aggressive people.”

The Irish Anti-War Movement also staged a protest outside Leinster House to oppose the invasion.

Among those speaking at the event was People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

He said: “We are saying very clearly that we must condemn and oppose the inexcusable and barbaric attack by Putin and Russia on Ukraine.

“But we are also saying in that opposing that war, we must not line up with Nato, with the big western powers who have expanded Nato eastwards, who are encouraging the European Union to get involved in the Nato military alliance.”

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