Former presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese have spoken about the importance of picking a side in the war in Ukraine.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Late Late Show, they both stated: "...we are not neutral, how could we be?"

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chair of The Elders, Mary Robinson, said that it was "very important to take a side... there is no neutrality about this".

Ms Robinson described Russia's invasion of Ukraine as "a flagrant break of the UN charter" which was "absolutely unacceptable".

Ms McAleese said the war had clarified what Ireland meant by neutrality.

"Almost instantly we figured out the difference between military neutrality and political neutrality. We're not neutral, how could we be? It's not possible," Ms McAleese said.

She also said that she had written three times to the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov.

"I am very angry about this... I don't remember ever being contemptuous, but I certainly am now... of that man and what he represents and how he lied to us," she said.

However, Ms McAleese welcomed the fact that Mr Filatov last week told a Russian state-owned television station that the situation in Ireland was "frankly difficult" and accused the country of being to the forefront of "anti-Russian events" in the European Union.

"I'm grateful actually in an ironic kind of way and a sardonic kind of way, that he brought a message to the Russian people, though their own fake press and their own fake news... that yes, we have taken a side here," Ms McAleese said.

She described the Russian President as "demagogic", "moronic" and an "appalling anti-human man" who she hoped the Russian people would one day find it "within their power to neutralise".

On whether the Russian people could rebel and prove their own President's downfall, Ms McAleese said she thought this was "the best hope".

"It wouldn't be the first time the Russians have done this... they have the courage, now they have to find it" she said.

Ms Robinson said: "There is no doubt that Putin is very well protected, until suddenly maybe he is not."

She said it was "never too late for diplomacy" and she believed that China was the key.

She said currently China was minimising the conflict and was "on the fence at the moment".

However, she said she believed that China was "getting more uncomfortable ... by the day," and she believed it will ultimately have to "go with the world" [in opposing the war].

Ms Robinson also said that it was important that Valdimir Putin "mustn't get away with" his actions in this conflict.

"The International Criminal Court is already seized with the issue. 39 countries including Ireland have said that the prosecutor investigates for war crimes, crimes against humanity and potentially genocide," Ms Robinson said.

She said she also wanted to see Putin prosecuted for the Crime of Aggression under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, but as neither Ukraine nor Russia are signatories, the UN General Assembly ought to step in.

Ms Robinson said that Mr Putin's comments about putting his nuclear arsenal on "special alert" was "dangerous rhetoric".

She also said that "Russia is abusing their presidency" of the UN Security Council by calling a debate yesterday on its unproven accusation that the US and UK were testing biological weapons in labs in Ukraine, calling it "ridiculous stuff" and "a farce".

Both former president's agreed that Russia was becoming "a pariah country".

However, they also both agreed that it would be unwise for NATO to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Ms Robinson said this would "lead to a huge escalation" which she said, "Putin probably wants".

Ms McAleese said that she understood why Ukraine wanted a no-fly zone but called instead for a "a cool step back from the brink".

"We know that [Putin] is capable of egregious things and that's the fear. He also has the weaponry with which to do it."

Ms Robinson warned that the climate crisis has not gone anywhere and said that we now needed to "go absolutely for green energy" as "we are not on course for a safe world".

If we do not spend money on green energy now, she warned, "our children will have no future".

They both spoke out against any discrimination against Russian children living in Ireland.

"That's not us... anyone who thinks that's good, stop it now" Ms McAleese said.

She confirmed that she has signed up to offer accommodation to Ukranian refugees.

"We did it right away, we signed up with the Red Cross ," Ms McAleese said.

"We have a home, our children are gone, and here we are with bedrooms that need to be dusted, and people in need... Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to be able to do?"