Ireland at forefront of ‘anti-Russian events’ in EU, Russian ambassador claims

Dublin embassy protests ‘really aggressive’, Yury Filatov says in Russian TV interview

Yury Filatov, Russia's ambassador to Ireland, has accused protesters of being "rough and really aggressive" at the country's embassy in Dublin and of intimidating staff and vandalising the embassy's entrance.

In an interview with the state-owned Russia 24 television station, Mr Filatov said the situation in Ireland is "frankly difficult", and he accused the country of being to the forefront of "anti-Russian events" in the European Union.

Blaming the Irish media for portraying an "absolutely tendentious picture" of the Ukraine invasion, the ambassador told Russian viewers that the Irish public is hostile to "Russia and everything Russian".

Since Russia's invasion on February 24th, crowds have gathered outside the embassy on Orwell Road, Rathgar, every day, while red paint was thrown over one of the gateposts on the first day.


Since then, wall plaques have been removed and further graffiti has been painted on the embassy’s walls of slogans such as “Nazis”, “blood on your hands” and “f**k Russia”.

Staff are dealing with the Garda Síochána about the "vandalism" of the embassy, said the ambassador, adding that they have also received many telephone calls and emails from Irish people angered by the invasion.

People in the West are “going crazy” about the invasion and it is impacting on Russians living in Ireland: “They receive reprisal threats. Unfortunately, there are cases of bullying,” he said. So far, there is no independent evidence of this.

“This is very sad because in general, in my opinion, the Irish are kind and responsive.But sometimes when they absolutely don’t understand the situation, they take sides without any analysis and they act based on it.

“This is influencing our kids, unfortunately, who are studying here. We are limited in what we can do. We are staying in contact with them, supporting each other and giving advice,” the ambassador continued.

“If there are specific cases we will escalate to the ministry of foreign affairs. Our people are keeping well. We know about when they have contacted the gardaí. In this case, if necessary, we can provide advice to them,” he went on.

Russian citizens

Ireland is home to 5,000 Russian citizens and 5,000 more Russian speakers from other eastern European countries, while 80 Russian citizens cannot return easily to Russia because of the flight ban.

The embassy is directing them through alternative routes via Istanbul, he told Russia 24 in an interview that was available on YouTube in Russia, but not in Ireland.

A copy of it was sent to Russian citizen Masha Vasilieva who has been living in Ireland for the last nine years. She translated it and posted the translated version on YouTube. Her translation has been verified.

Ms Vasilieva said the vast majority of Russians living in Ireland are against the war in Ukraine and are supportive of the people, adding that the embassy protests have been wholly peaceful.

Russian citizens in Ireland are gathering every evening at 7pm near the Spire on O'Connell Street to protest against the invasion following a call from Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

There have been numerous calls for Mr Filatov and the rest of the staff at the Russian embassy in Ireland to be expelled from the country, but the Government has said it needs to keep lines of communications open.

An interview, which Mr Filatov gave to RTÉ News presenter David McCullagh justifying the invasion, has gone viral internationally. It has been viewed more than 6.4 million times.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times