Search icon


24th Feb 2022

WATCH: Ukraine Ambassador to Ireland fights back tears in emotional interview

Stephen Porzio

“Putin is testing the UN and the security architecture of the whole world.”

Ukraine Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko called on the international community to take actions against Russia in an emotional interview.

Gerasko’s comments came on Thursday morning after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine overnight.

Appearing on RTÉ’s RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Gerasko fought back the tears as she said her thoughts are with Ukraine and her family living in the country.

“I’m so emotional. I’m really shocked. My parents live 150km from the northern border of Ukraine… My brother and his family live in Kiyv,” she told the programme.

Stating that her family are currently safe, she said that it is hard to believe that such an invasion is happening in the 21st century.

“As far as I understand, Putin is testing the UN and the security architecture of the whole world and the international community and international order,” Gerasko added.

“All the international community has to be very vocal and very strong now.

“There are steps that the international community must do immediately in order to stop Russia.”

She said a “devastating and tough sanction” has to be enforced against Russia and that Ukraine needs financial support and humanitarian assistance.

Also on Thursday, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney took to Twitter to “utterly” condemn Russia for what he called “a shocking murderous act of aggression”.

Also appearing on Morning Ireland, he said the European Union and its partners need to respond to Russia’s actions.

“We are not going to go to war with Russia militarily but certainly I think the response in terms of sanctions will be very direct and very hard-hitting,” he explained.

“That means that the EU is also going to suffer as a result of those sanctions.

“Because undoubtedly there will be counter-sanctions from Russia.

“What President Putin has done and said over the last number of hours is not only to start a war with Ukraine… but he’s also warned any country that intervenes and helps Ukraine, he has also threatened them very directly.

“We are seeing a language that we simply have not seen in many many decades in Europe of aggression and of potential brutality.”

Regarding Irish citizens in Russia, Coveney said the Irish Government has two diplomats in Kyiv who have been moved to a safe place.

He also stated that two Irish families are currently in Ukraine in relation to surrogacy services and that the Irish Government is staying in close contact with them.

“It’s obviously not possible to fly out of Ukraine now. The airspace is not safe,” Coveney said.

“The advice to Irish citizens there is to stay where you are and stay safe and obviously, we’ll continue to advise them.”

You can listen to Coveney and Gerasko speaking on Morning Ireland below.