The Irish Times view on Ireland and Ukraine: a show of solidarity

Ukraine needs external support as much as it ever did

For European leaders, it is by now a well-trodden path. Presidents and prime ministers have, since the early stages of Russia’s invasion, made a point of travelling to Kyiv to show solidarity with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the people of Ukraine. Yesterday it was the turn of Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who met Zelenskiy in the capital and visited memorials to those killed in the war.

It was an important demonstration of Irish support for Ukraine. Dublin has taken an admirably clear stance on the war from early on. That support naturally lacks the military or geopolitical weight of other states’ aid, but its practical and symbolic value has been important and reflects the Irish public’s own instincts, as the welcome extended to Ukrainian refugees shows. The decision to waive visa requirements for those fleeing the war was a significant gesture, as was Ireland’s full-throated support of Kyiv’s bid for EU candidate status – a campaign that culminated last week in formal approval by European leaders. The Government has also committed aid funding and, working with the Red Cross and other organisations, sought to mobilise a national response to housing newly arrived refugees.

In the war’s early days, it was hard to imagine that, almost five months later, Zelenkiy would be receiving a procession of world leaders at the presidential complex in Kyiv. That it is possible is down to the resolve and strength of the Ukrainian people, supported by the country’s allies. But the war remains dangerously poised, its outcome uncertain. There is a real danger that, with the war now in an attritional phase concentrated in the east, and with world leaders increasingly preoccupied with the domestic costs of the war for their own people, the international coalition against Russia will begin to weaken. Ukraine needs external support as much as it ever did. It needs humanitarian funding, military-logistical support and steadfast political backing. It also needs Russia to remain isolated, and for it to continue to feel the costs of Vladimir Putin’s reckless, unprovoked aggression.