Russia will stage ‘unwelcome’ live-fire naval drills off coast of Ireland

Rep. Waltz warns Russian invasion of Ukraine is 'imminent'

Russia’s plans to hold war games off Ireland’s coast in international waters are “not welcome,” Ireland’s foreign minister warned Monday as the situation in Ukraine remains unstable. 

The live-fire drills set to take place in early February, according to the Irish Examiner, will be staged 150 miles off Ireland’s southwest coast. That area is in international waters but within Ireland’s exclusive economic zone.  

“This isn’t a time to increase military activity and tension in the context of what’s happening with and in Ukraine,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.  

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, left, speaks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, center, and Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels on Monday.  (AP/Virginia Mayo)

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“The fact that they are choosing to do it on the western borders, if you like, of the EU, off the Irish coast, is something that in our view is simply not welcome and not wanted right now, particularly in the coming weeks,” he continued. 

 

Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday.

Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

Coveney also said “we don’t have a power to prevent this happening but certainly I’ve made it clear to the Russian ambassador in Ireland that it’s not welcome.” 

The development comes as NATO announced it’s sending fighter jets and ships to eastern Europe, while the U.S. is ordering the families of embassy personnel in Ukraine to evacuate the country over concerns about a potential Russian invasion. 

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