Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov has alleged death threats have been made against embassy staff at their home addresses.

In an interview on Russian television, Mr Filatov said that protests outside of the Dublin embassy have become violent and staff have made reports to gardaí.

The ambassador describes Ireland as being at the forefront of anti-Russian measures in Europe.

He also claimed that Russian children are being bullied in Irish schools.

Mr Filatov said: "At present, we're dealing with an extremely tense situation in the embassy. Our employees are constantly receiving death threats at their home addresses, by email and by telephone."

He said that protests outside the embassy are "very aggressive".

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"For several days now protests have been taking place at the embassy with varying degrees of intensity, often violent and very aggressive.

"But we are naturally taking all necessary security measures," he said.

When asked if there is a threat to Russian staff at the embassy, Mr Filatov said: "Well, frankly, the situation is complicated. Naturally, the general political situation can be said to be simply hostile to Russia and to everything Russian in political and cultural terms."

Staff have been impacted emotionally, but the embassy remains in operation, he added.

A protest outside the Russian embassy today, where more red paint was smeared on the walls

"In general, the embassy is operating normally, although of course it is not an easy environment psychologically.

"As regards our compatriots, Russian citizens, naturally they're being affected by the present situation," he said.

When asked if there was a need to offer protection to embassy staff and diplomats, Mr Filatov responded: "Well, of course, that would be desirable. At present, our main concern is the protection of the embassies."

He continued: "You know, this situation is rather like what they tell you about on a plane, how in an emergency the oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling.

"The first rule is to get your own mask on first, and only then start assisting others however you can. Perhaps this applies to the current situation. Our opportunities here are extremely limited.

"We are of course supporting one-another in practice through advice, words of support, contact with people."

Staff have on several occasions made reports to gardaí, Mr Filatov said.

"In the event that there are specific circumstances there, we can probably put it on the consular line to the foreign ministry and inform – Our people, I ought to say, how to put it, they’ve done the right thing in several situations, they’ve simply informed the police where that was appropriate."

When asked if he felt that the gardaí had responded appropriately, Mr Filatov said: "Yes, adequately. Naturally they’re obliged to respond to appeals from citizens, so they have."

Claims Russian children bullied in school

The ambassador insisted that the current situation is difficult for other Russians in Ireland also. He said that he is aware of instances where Russian children are being bullied in school.

He said: "The problem that we’re seeing and which people are describing to us is children in school.

"Unfortunately, there are elements of bullying and this is very unfortunate because in general, in my opinion, the Irish people are generally sympathetic and kind, but sometimes, it seems, completely unaware of the situation, so that they take it on themselves to act on the basis of some analysis they have in their heads, and this, unfortunately, can affect our children studying local schools."

Mr Filatov criticised the role that the Irish media plays in portraying the conflict.

"Here, of course, the media plays a very negative role by painting a very simplified picture of the events taking place in Ukraine at the political level," he said.

There have been several protests outside the embassy since the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Mr Filatov insisted "anti-Russian" measures are being adopted.

He said: "Ireland is at the forefront, both of the European Union and more broadly, where it comes to various anti-Russian measures.

"In this regard, one could say it’s hardly possible to talk about any relations between Russia and Ireland."

He insisted that despite this he hopes to maintain a channel of communication between Russia and Ireland.

"Our main concern is to maintain a channel of communication with the Irish, which I think makes sense, because even in these difficult periods this is necessary.

"But as our minister, Sergei Lavrov, said in an interview today, there is still hope that the West’s understanding will change at some point."

Meanwhile, Minister Simon Harris has accused ambassador Mr Filatov of "trying to put out propaganda" after the interview with Russian television.

Mr Harris described the interview as an "utter distraction" but insisted that the people of Ireland will "not be distracted by disinformation, misinformation or downright lies".

Speaking to RTÉ's Drivetime, Mr Harris said: "I don't intend, being honest, to be distracted by the Russian ambassador's interview. It is a distraction, and it is an utter distraction.

"This is a regime that seized a nuclear power plant last night. We saw horrifying scenes on our television this morning.

"The picture and the image that I'm thinking of this evening is not one of the Russian ambassador talking and spreading his propaganda, but is one of the poor man laying over the body of a dead teenage boy in Ukraine yesterday.

"That's the picture, that's the image, that the people of Ireland are thinking of and we should not be distracted by the theatrics of anybody trying to put out propaganda at this sensitive time."

The Minister said that Russian people will continue to be welcome in Ireland and the difficulty is with the Putin regime.