Oh… Okay, then.
Yury Filatov, Russia’s ambassador to Ireland, has played down the significance or military drills to take place off the coast of Cork next month.
Russia is currently at the centre of a geopolitical stare-down on the border of Ukraine, and it is worried that Russian troops might invade the neighbouring country.
While there is no such worry that Cork is in Russia’s line-of-sight, there are concerns over the planned military drills. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Amabassador Filatov said: “It looks like the topic of the exercises fits in the ongoing propaganda campaign led by the US and its NATO allies to create an illusion over Russian threats to Europe.”
Filatov said the exercise would go ahead despite the backlash. “Why would we do so [call it off]? Attention is something that will pass but plans for military training, it takes much time to put together and I don’t see any reason for changing that because there are no problems.
“There is nothing surprising, nothing sensational and it will be carried out in transparent and safe manner.”
The exercise will take place 240km off of Ireland’s southwest coast, in what is technically an international water space. Filatov said the exercises would be minor, involving three or four ships, but pleaded ignorance on whether missiles would be used.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has spoken out against the drills, saying: “While the Russian military can within the law carry out these exercises off our waters and in our economic zone, they are certainly unwelcome and that has been communicated to the authorities.”