Gilmore summons Russian ambassador to meeting over Crimea

Tánaiste describes situation in Ukraine as the ‘worst crisis since the end of the Cold War’

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has summonsed the Russian ambassador to Ireland to talks tomorrow, amid concerns about developments in Crimea.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has summonsed the Russian ambassador to Ireland to talks tomorrow, amid concerns about developments in Crimea.

 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has summonsed the Russian ambassador to Ireland to talks tomorrow, amid concerns about developments in Crimea.

Speaking following a meeting of foreign affairs ministers in Brussels, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said he had made arrangements to see the Russian ambassador to Ireland tomorrow. “I will be communicating directly to him and asking him to communicate to his government the views of Ireland and indeed the views that were reached here at the Council meeting.”

His comments come as the European Union convened an emergency meeting of EU leaders on Thursday in Brussels, after foreign ministers refrained to decide definitively on the imposition of sanctions on Russia.

However, ministers warned that a failure by Russia to “de-escalate” the situation in Ukraine would lead them to consider targeted sanctions, effectively confronting Russia with a deadline of Thursday by which time it must move its troops back to base.

The convening of the emergency summit is likely to impact the schedule of the European People’s Party (EPP) congress in Dublin, which begins on Thursday morning.

Relevant leaders are now expected to fly to Dublin directly after the summit finishes in Brussels at around 3 pm. It is the first time since Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 that an emergency meeting of EU leaders has been called in connection with foreign affairs issues.

Speaking after this afternoon’s emergency meeting of foreign ministers, Mr Gilmore described the situation as the “worst crisis that Europe has faced since the end of the Cold War.”

“There are consequences for the bilateral relationship between the European Union and Russia if they do not work to de-escalate thus crisis. Those consequences will include the suspension of the talks on visa liberalisation and the suspension of the talks on the EU’s agreement with Russia and further measures if we feel that is necessary.” This would include targeted sanctions, he added.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that if the situation in Ukraine does not improve, “the course is set.” She clarified that the EU was demanding that Russia moving its troops back to its military bases or “the position troops had before this began.”

“I understand that the president of the European Council will indeed convene a European Council this week. It’s very important that between now and then we do everything we possibly can, that we try to get this situation de-escalated, “ she said.

The EU’s foreign policy chief will meet with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov tomorrow, while foreign ministers of individual member states were in contact with their counterparts in Russia, she said.

The meeting of foreign ministers drew to a close in Brussels as unconfirmed reports emanated from Ukraine that Russia had issued an ultimatum to Ukraine troops to pull out of Crimea by tomorrow morning.