The Russian Ambassador has claimed if Ireland provides any help to Ukraine to clear land mines it would result in the country being directly involved in the conflict.

Yury Filatov said: "There is no way around the fact that by engaging with the Ukrainian military, be it on mines or otherwise, Ireland would clearly be involved in the ongoing conflict in a direct way."

Last week, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Ireland will participate in the EU training mission for the Ukrainian Armed Forces

The mission is expected to get under way in mid-November.

Mr Coveney had suggested that Ireland could provide training on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and de-mining.

This week, the Taoiseach told the Dáil that the Ukrainian Prime Minister had asked him for help with demining.

"Why did he ask for help with demining? He did so because there are mines all over Ukraine," Micheál Martin said.

The Taoiseach was responding to PBP TD Paul Murphy, who had criticised the Government's decision to participate in the EU's training mission for the Ukrainian army.

Rejecting this criticism, Mr Martin said: "The deputy has turned that into an attack on neutrality. It makes my blood boil.

"He only sees evil everywhere. He sees wrong everywhere. He sees wrong motivation. I have made it clear we are not joining NATO and no Government decision has been taken."

This evening, Mr Murphy said: "I wouldn't trust the Russian ambassador as far as I could throw him and I don't believe that Russia is not intentionally targeting civilians."

But the Dublin South- West TD said People Before Profit is opposed to any military involvement by Ireland in the conflict of Ukraine.

"We are opposed to the participation in EU military training and the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, which is in reality a NATO alliance," he said.


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