Taoiseach demands sanctions on Russia over Aleppo devastation

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is among a growing number of European leaders demanding tougher sanctions on Russia.

At the European Council Summit in Brussels yesterday Mr Kenny agreed that Russia should face sanctions and said the country’s bombing of Aleppo would be the subject of “detailed discussion” at the meeting.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that the EU cannot rule out sanctions against Russia as it continues to bomb Syria.

Mr Tusk said European leaders would be discussing future relations with Russia but said “it’s really difficult, even impossible to talk about this and not refer to the current attacks on civilians and hospitals in Aleppo.

“I want to underline that the EU should keep all options open including sanctions,” he said.

Attending her first summit as British prime minister, Theresa May called on her fellow leaders to stop the “appalling, sickening” actions taken by Russia.

“We must continue that robust and united European stance in the face of Russian aggression. It’s vital we work together to continue to put pressure on Russia to stop its appalling atrocities, its sickening atrocities, in Syria,” she said.

Although EU Parliament president Martin Schulz said there are still differing views in Europe on increasing sanctions, there is agreement that the current sanctions should not be eased.

The Dáil also discussed the atrocities in Syria with Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan describing the Russian bombing campaign as “terrorism”.

He said Russia has claimed it is attacking terrorists in Aleppo but said the UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, said there may only be 800 to 900 fighters in eastern Aleppo out of an estimated total population of 275,000.

Fianna Fáil’s Brendan Griffin said Ireland has a “proud record of punching well above our weight on the international scene” and “we need to continue that”.

Sinn Féin’s Seán Crowe said “Ireland should be a leader in its response to the refugee situation”.


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