President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with Taoiseach of Ireland Micheál Martin, who is on the first visit to Ukraine in the history of Ukrainian-Irish relations.

The Head of State emphasized that this visit is taking place at a difficult time of the war for Ukrainian independence.

According to him, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia, a new page has appeared in the relations between Ukraine and Ireland, and the atmosphere of these relations is warm and substantive.

“Ukraine is grateful to Ireland for its sincere support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state, for supporting our European aspirations, as well as our people who were forced to seek shelter from hostilities on Ukrainian soil abroad,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a conversation with media representatives following the negotiations with Micheál Martin in Kyiv.

The President reminded that since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Ireland has canceled visas for Ukrainian citizens, and Ukraine will always remember such a principled gesture of solidarity on the part of the Irish people.

“Our Irish friends fully understand the threats posed by this Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire democratic world,” he said.

For his part, the Taoiseach of Ireland expressed the support and solidarity of his people with the people of Ukraine.

“I want to thank you, President Zelensky for your very warm welcome to Kyiv and I want to thank you for your remarkable leadership which is greatly admired in Ireland. I’m here first of all to express Ireland’s solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

“We admire you and we are with you. Russia’s brutal war against this beautiful, democratic country is a gross violation of international law. It is an affront to everything that Ireland stands for. It cannot and it will not be allowed to stand,” he added.

During the negotiations, the Head of State and Taoiseach of Ireland discussed joint responses to these threats, in particular the issues of food security, energy and the preparation of a new, seventh sanctions package against the Russian Federation.

“Ukraine appreciates everything that Ireland has already done to make Russia feel the price of its terrorist actions,” the President said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy informed Micheál Martin about the situation on the front, especially in the south and east of Ukraine, and about the financial and humanitarian needs of our state.

The Head of State recalled the recent adoption by the Irish Senate of a resolution recognizing the crimes of the Russian occupiers in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people.

“We greatly appreciate such a decision and must work together with all the countries of the world that protect the international legal order to bring Russian war criminals to justice,” he said.

The parties agreed to work together for Ukraine to quickly overcome the path from a candidate for EU membership to full membership.

In addition, the interlocutors discussed the need to carry out active reconstruction already now in those territories of Ukraine that were liberated from the occupiers. Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the Irish side for their sincere interest in the project of our country’s recovery after the Russian invasion.

“We discussed in detail that before talking about such a powerful economic project as the reconstruction of the state after the war, we should focus today on the Fast recovery plan, on those details that can help our people return home, so that children can go to schools, universities, so that people have a place to live in Ukraine and have somewhere to return to. Therefore, such quick solutions, quick assistance, quick mobilization of our partners is what we really need,” the President said.

A visit to Borodyanka, Irpin and Bucha

The Taoiseach of Ireland said that today he had visited Borodyanka, Irpin and Bucha, where he had seen with his own eyes the terrible consequences of the war. He also spoke with local residents, who told him about the brutality of Russians during the temporary occupation of these settlements, as well as the need for reconstruction.

“The use of terror against the civilian population is a war crime. And those who are responsible for these actions, who gave these instructions, will definitely be held accountable. That is why we have allocated additional funding for the international court to ensure further work on these crimes,” said Micheál Martin.

European Union candidate status

Micheál Martin praised the work of the President and the Government of Ukraine in preparations for obtaining the status of a candidate for EU membership and expressed readiness to help with his experience on the path of our country to full membership in the European Union.

“I’m here also to pay tribute to President Zelensky and his government on achieving European Union candidate status. I’ve always made clear from the outset our strong view that Ukraine belongs to the European Union,” stressed the head of the Irish government. “The values that people are fighting and dying for today are European values, our values. But it was the commitment and the hard work of the government in Kyiv that convinced the European Commission to come forward with positive recommendation so quickly and it’s a richly deserved outcome,” he added.

“As you undertake the complex journey through membership, Ireland will be with you every step of the way and we’ll do what we can to help you work with the European institutions and the Commission, because we in Ireland have been transformed by our 50 years’ membership of the European Union and we want the very same transformation for you also,” declared the Taoiseach of Ireland.

Food crisis

Micheál Martin, among other things, condemned Russia’s actions aimed at creating a food crisis.

“We do not accept at all the situation when food can be used as a tool of war. We will do everything possible to ensure that people are not affected by attempts to turn food into weapons,” he said.

Micheál Martin also expressed confidence in the further development of relations between Ireland and Ukraine and noted that the world is impressed by the power and resilience of Ukrainian people in the struggle for independence.