Ireland’s premier pledged his country’s support for the people of Ukraine as he arrived in Kyiv for a visit to the war-torn capital.
Micheal Martin will use the trip to reiterate Irish solidarity with the Ukrainian authorities in the face of the Russian invasion.
He will discuss how Ireland and the EU can support the country and will also witness first-hand the devastation caused by the Russian forces.
Mr Martin will restate Ireland’s full backing for continuing sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, as well as Ireland’s commitment to work with the EU on the reconstruction of Ukraine.
“The bombardment and attacks on civilians are nothing short of war crimes, and I will use my visit to express Ireland’s support for moves to hold those behind these attacks fully accountable.
“The spirit and resolve of the Ukrainian people has inspired us all, and Ireland will provide every support for Ukraine’s path to full EU membership, and continue to welcome and support civilians fleeing this war.”
Mr Martin’s trip comes two weeks after President Volodymyr Zelensky invited him to visit Ukraine.
It is the first visit by a Taoiseach to the eastern European country.
It also comes after Mr Putin on Monday declared victory in seizing the eastern Ukrainian province of Luhansk, with his troops escalating their offensive in neighbouring Donetsk.
Mr Martin has warned previously that the Russian president appeared to be leveraging its natural gas supplies to exert maximum pressure on Europe ahead of the winter period.
The Taoiseach has also been a vocal advocate for Ukraine’s fast-tracked membership of the EU.
Ireland has also taken in more than 36,000 Ukrainian refugees since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine at the end of February.
The Irish State has given 20 million euro in humanitarian support and assistance to the country, as well as health equipment and medical donations worth more than 4.5 million euro.
In April, Simon Coveney became the first foreign minister of the UN Security Council to visit Kyiv, and met Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and defence minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Mr Coveney also visited the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of the capital, where suspected killings of civilians prompted global condemnation.