The Russian ambassador to Ireland has denied lying over his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Days before the war began, Yury Filatov branded the suggestion that Russia would invade Ukraine “insane”.
Mr Filatov admitted on Wednesday evening that he might not have been aware of the latest information, but said he had not been lying.
It is not necessarily that all the ambassadors are consulted in very difficult and changing situationsYury Filatov
“There might have been a chance I did not know every circumstance,” he said.
“As you might imagine, it is not necessarily that all the ambassadors are consulted in very difficult and changing situations.”
But he denied he was also lied to.
“What I’m saying is, under circumstances, the only way to defend Donbas and our own strategic interests – ending suffering, which has been the fact of the matter for eight years – was through special military operations.”
In a wide-ranging interview with RTE radio, Mr Filatov denied that Russia had invaded or inflicted war on Ukraine.
“It is not a war in a military sense. War is an all-out attack, no holds barred.”
He said what was going on in Ukraine was a “surgical” operation.
He also denied reports of atrocities by Russian troops and said that his country had not been involved in the killing of civilians in Bucha.
He said he was aware of the anger of Irish people over the war, but added that the public were victims of propaganda.
“I know that many, many people are angry, and I understand their feelings. Nobody would be happy with the images and news stories they receive on a daily basis. I understand them and they repeated them.
“They’re the objects of propaganda warfare. Let’s put it bluntly and straightforwardly.”
Mr Filatov was speaking after Russian energy company Gazprom cut off gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria, a move condemned as “blackmail” by some western leaders.
“I don’t think it should be any surprise, because we have warned all along that after we have been put into the situation where now gold and currency reserves have been essentially stolen.
“We didn’t have any choice than to inform our customers that the only option to continue the gas supplies is the pay for these supplies in roubles.”