The ramming of a truck into the gates of the Russian Embassy in Dublin on Monday has been criticised by the Tánaiste who described it as “foolish and unhelpful”.
Leo Varadkar said this action could be “misrepresented in Russian state TV as Irish people being involved in violent acts against Russians”.
He said: “It may be the case that the person behind it had strong feelings on this issue, but it was not helpful at all because we have obligations under the Vienna Convention to protect diplomats that are here in Ireland. So it was a foolish and unhelpful act that in that regard.”
He said while people were entitled to protest, such protests should be peaceful with “no violence” and “no criminal damage”.
Mr Varadkar said gardaí and the Department of Foreign Affairs had been in contact with the Russian Embassy following the incident and “are reviewing security to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.”
The driver, Desmond Wisley (49), appeared in court on Tuesday morning in connection with the incident, charged with criminal damage and dangerous driving.
Immediately after the incident on Monday the Russian Embassy accused the Government of violating international law for allowing the incident to happen, and claimed members of the Garda “stood idle” as the incident happened.
In a follow-up statement, however, the embassy said: “We would like to inform that additional measures have been undertaken by the Garda to ensure safety and security of the embassy and its personnel. The embassy appreciates co-operation by the Irish authorities in this matter.”
On Monday evening security barriers were erected to create a buffer between the embassy and protesters.
Mr Varadkar also said that, politically, “the message to the Russian government and also the Russian people is very clear that ‘we’re on the side of Ukraine’.”
The incident comes days after Russian ambassador Yury Filativ told Russian TV the situation in Ireland was “frankly difficult”.
Mr Filativ accused the country of being to the forefront of “anti-Russian events” in the European Union.