Responding to developments in Ukraine Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has said: “During the past week already strong evidence that Russia is engaged in military operations in Ukraine has become irrefutable. Just as President Putin did in Crimea, his government is seeking to further undermine and partition a sovereign state.
“Russia has created a humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ukraine by taking actions which no sovereign state could be expected to ignore.
“History is more than clear that aggression like this will continue and threaten new countries unless a strong stand is taken.
“Sanctions against Russia must now be strengthened further at tomorrow’s European Council meeting. All arms contracts with Russia should be immediately blocked and the huge resources of backers of the Putin regime which are in European banks should be frozen. The larger European countries can no longer put their own narrow interests ahead of stopping Russian aggression.
“In addition the time has arrived to agree urgent measures to end European reliance on Russian energy.
“Ireland’s position of saying as little as possible is no longer tenable. I am calling on the Taoiseach to say before the summit that Ireland will support the toughest possible sanctions against Russia and call for it to immediately end its aggression against Ukraine.”