Russian ambassador to discuss naval drills before Oireachtas committee

Russia moved planned exercises outside Irish economic zone after talks

Yuri Filatov will appear before the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee this Wednesday at 5.30pm. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Russia’s ambassador to Ireland has accepted an invite to appear before the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee.

Charlie Flanagan, chairman of the committee, confirmed that Yuri Filatov will appear on Wednesday, February 2nd, at 5.30pm.

An invitation was extended to Mr Filatov last week, at the height of the controversy over Russia’s planned naval exercises due to take place within Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

However, on Saturday it was confirmed that following dialogue between the Russian and Irish governments, and pressure from fishing organisations, the location of the live fire exercises was to be moved.


The planned live fire exercises, which are extremely rare and have hitherto only been undertaken within Ireland’s EEZ by the Defence Forces, had led to warnings to mariners and air traffic to avoid the area.

The climbdown has shifted the location of the exercises, but experts believe it will still take place above vital subsea communication cables. Mr Filatov said at the weekend the decision to move the drills was a “gesture of goodwill”.

The situation in Ukraine is also set to be discussed at the committee, while Mr Flanagan has also indicated that he wants to discuss the circumstances surrounding a picture of Mr Filatov with the Defence Forces chief of staff, Lieut Gen Seán Clancy, at McKee barracks this month.

The photo was published on Russian embassy social media channels, leading to backlash and controversy when Minister for Defence Simon Coveney criticised the use of the image and the circumstances it was taken in at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party last week.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times