The Taoiseach has condemned a broadcast on Russian state television which showed a mock nuclear attack destroying Ireland, saying it was a "very sinister, intimidatory-type tactic by the Russian Federation".
Reacting to the segment on the Russia-1 channel, Micheál Martin said the broadcaster and the Russian authorities should apologise for the broadcast.
"It is very sinister, intimidatory-type tactics by the Russian Federation and I don't think anybody is going to be intimidated by it," he said on Tuesday. "I think it reflects a mindset that is worrying and not in touch with reality."
Speaking to reporters at Dublin Castle ahead of a Cabinet meeting, Mr Martin said: “I think there should be an apology forthcoming in relation to that.”
He said the more fundamental point he wished to make was that Russia should cease hostilities in Ukraine immediately.
“The degree of bombardment and destruction of towns and cities, and the human carnage that is taking place, is absolutely without justification,” he said. “It is an immoral war and should end.”
The Taoiseach said what was needed now was humanitarian assistance and for people to be allowed safe passage from besieged cities such as Mariupol.
He said a proper humanitarian response was now needed under the auspices of the United Nations.
The Russian Embassy responded to Mr Martin’s remarks about the broadcast with a statement reiterating its stance that “the views and presentations in the TV show are that of the editors”. It said Russia’s official position is “that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that it must never be unleashed”.
Earlier, Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland South Billy Kelleher said the Government should summon Russia's ambassador to the State, Yury Filatov, to inform him about "our absolute disgust about the broadcast".
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman gave no indication that this would happen when asked if any diplomatic response was being planned.
“There can be no justification for threatening use of nuclear weapons. Ireland has long argued that nuclear weapons offer no security, and their use would result in devastating humanitarian consequences,” he said.
The spokesman added that Russia was included in statement issued in January by the heads of the five Nuclear Weapon States saying that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.
The Russian state television broadcast included mocked-up clips of nuclear weapons destroying Ireland in response to the UK’s support for Ukraine amid the ongoing war.
The clips were introduced by Dmitry Kiselyov, a close associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin who is perceived as a propagandist for the Kremlin. Russia-1 is the most widely watched television channel in Russia.
Ireland is not mentioned directly in either of the two clips. In one segment, Mr Kiselyov speaks of an attack on the “British Isles” as footage plays of the islands of Ireland and Britain being wiped off the map by a nuclear weapon.
“It actually seems like they’re raving on the British Isles,” Mr Kiselyov says, after baselessly claiming British prime minister Boris Johnson had threatened a nuclear strike on Russia.
“Why threaten neverending Russia when you’re on an island which is, you know, is so small?” he says, according to a translation from journalist Francis Scarr, who monitors Russian media for the BBC.
“The island is so small that just one Sarmat missile is sufficient to sink it once and for all. Everything has been calculated already,” he claims, as a graphic shows a blast erasing Ireland and Britain from the map.
Meanwhile, it was announced on Tuesday that Ireland is to support the creation of a European depository for evidence of war crimes in Ukraine
The European Commission has proposed that Eurojust - the agency responsible for criminal justice co-operation - will collect and preserve evidence of possible war crimes in Ukraine including genocide and crimes against humanity.
Under the plans, Eurojust would make the evidence available to national and international judicial authorities.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said she would bring motions before the Dáil and Seanad this week seeking Oireachtas backing for Ireland’s support of the European initiative.