Taoiseach tells Zelenskiy: ‘The Irish people stand fully behind Ukraine’

Micheál Martin speaks to Ukrainian president on phone and tells him Ireland admired his leadership

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy that the Irish people stand fully behind Ukraine.

In the call which lasted more than 20 minutes Mr Martin said everyone in Ireland admired his great leadership in the face of an immoral war on the people of Ukraine.

Mr Martin told the Ukrainian president that Ireland would show its support in any way it could.

It is understood Mr Zelenskiy was very appreciative of support from Ireland including the visa waiver, the St Patrick’s Day show of solidarity, €20m in aid. He thanked the State for for its humanitarian aid, shelter, global support and sanctions against Russia. He urged that pressure be kept on Russia.


Mr Martin told him that Ireland was fully behind Ukraine’s hopes for EU membership, according to officials.

Mr Zelenskiy also offered his sympathy to the family of Irish journalist Pierre Zakrzewski, who was killed on Russian shelling on the outskirts of Kyiv while working on Monday as a Fox News cameraman.

“From the people of Ireland, the admiration of you and your people is very high. We as a Government reflect that. They are behind you,” Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin is currently in Washington for St Patrick’s Day meeting with US president Joe Biden.

In a tweet about the phonecall with the Taoiseach, Mr Zelenskiy said they “discussed countering aggression & horrific crimes of Russia against civilians. Expressed condolences over the murder of Irish journalist Pierre Zakrzewski by Russian soldiers. Thanked for helping the people of Ukraine.”

Kamala Harris

The Taoiseach also spoke to US vice president Kamala Harris on Wednesday. During a 20 minute phonecall she praised Ireland’s humanitarian response to Ukraine war. Ms Harris spoke of sacrifice and courage of the people of Ukraine - fighting for independence and freedom, inspiring so many. The pair also discussed Mr Zelenskiy’s call with the Taoiseach and his address to US Congress and spoke of the value of the EU,US, UK and others stadning against Russia.

Ms Harris also offered unequivocal support for the Belfast Agreement. A breakfast meeting planned for St Patrick’s Day between the Taoiseach and vice president was cancelled because Ms Harris’s husband has Covid.


Speaking to reporters earlier Mr Martin ruled out sending any Irish weapons to Ukraine, despite pleas from Mr Zelenskiy to the US Congress this morning for more help.

Mr Martin said he believes the Irish people wants the Government to do “everything we can” to support Ukraine, but asked if this could include supplying anti-tank weapons held by the Defence Forces, the Taoiseach said that there would be no change to the current policy of sending only non-lethal aid. However, he reiterated his call for a discussion on neutrality to be held after the war in Ukraine ends.

“Ireland is not a military power. Let’s call a spade a spade,” Mr Martin said. “Our greatest strength is in the humanitarian side, our greatest strength is in the peacekeeping side, that’s what we do well.”

Mr Martin said Ireland’s neutrality had not prevented the EU from supplying arms to Ukraine.

“I believe we have to act in accordance with our current policies, and it’s important we maintain consensus in Irish society at the moment,” he said. “And it’s by no means clear that we should end our military neutrality right now and nor do I think it would be correct to do it in the middle of this crisis.

“I think the broader issue of military neutrality does need reflection - I’d be straight up about that. As someone who’s been a supporter of that, but I think the world is changing,” Mr Martin said.

“This is a war against democracy - and I think we have to have this conversation.

“We’re not politically neutral and we’re not morally neutral. And as the world changes, our position has to evolve, in my view.”