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Taoiseach warns of energy price impact amid crisis in Ukraine

The Irish leader told reporters after the press conference that he hoped that Europe was not heading towards war.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Irish premier has said he still hopes war can be avoided in Europe, as the crisis in Ukraine continues to escalate.

Earlier, Micheal Martin stood beside Olaf Scholz as the German Chancellor announced that the country had taken steps to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia as the West.

Mr Scholz said his government made the decision in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine that he said marked a “serious break of international law”.

At the press conference, Mr Martin joined the condemnation of the move, which has fuelled concerns about an escalating conflict in the region and stoked fears of a full-scale assault by Russia on Ukraine.

The EU is set to announce sanctions on Russia in the wake of the announcement from Mr Putin.

The Irish leader told reporters after the press conference that he hoped that Europe was not heading towards war.

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Handout photo issued by Embassy of Ireland in Berlin of Irish Premier Micheal Martin during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin (Embassy of Ireland in Berlin/PA)

Handout photo issued by Embassy of Ireland in Berlin of Irish Premier Micheal Martin during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin (Embassy of Ireland in Berlin/PA)

PA

Handout photo issued by Embassy of Ireland in Berlin of Irish Premier Micheal Martin during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin (Embassy of Ireland in Berlin/PA)

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“Every avenue of in terms of diplomacy and in terms of dialogue will be used by Europe, the United States, the UK and others to prevent that from happening.

“It would be catastrophic if it was to happen, particularly for the people within Ukraine.

“This is not how things should be done in the 21st century.”

Mr Martin accused the Russian president Vladimir Putin of “creating narratives that belong to the late 19th century and early 20th century”.

He described the German intervention on Nord Stream 2 was “significant”, but warned that it initiates a further spike in energy prices across the continent and at home in Ireland.

“It is a very significant decision by the German Chancellor to make and we shouldn’t understate the significance of the statement and that announcement, because there is a major investment involved there.”

“I think more broadly, the crisis will have a negative impact on oil prices.”

He said that already the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine had pushed up prices, alongside the re-opening of economies around the world in the wake of the worst phase of the pandemic.

“Combine it all and we’re in a very serious situation, which could get worse now because of what happened yesterday.”

Mr Martin, who was in Berlin for only a brief visit, was greeted with military honours upon arrival.

He told reporters that he had a “fruitful” conversation with the German leader, with climate change and economic development on the agenda alongside Ukraine.

Mr Martin said that, while Ireland was a militarily neutral nation, it was not “politically neutral”.

The Fianna Fail leader said that the country was taking “proactive” steps to help solve the crisis.


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