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Dublin condemns 'unwelcome' Russian operation planned for next month


Russia is planning to hold live-fire naval drills off the Irish coast next month, with Dublin saying the ships are 'not welcome' (file image, Russian ships near Saint Petersburg last year)


Russia will hold live-fire naval drills off the coast of Ireland next month, Moscow has announced amid rapidly escalating tensions with the West.

Battleships will take part in sea drills around 150 miles off Ireland's southwest coast, within the country's 'exclusive economic zone' but outside its territorial waters.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney revealed on Monday that Russia informed Ireland about the drills at the weekend, saying the warships are 'not welcome' but his country 'doesn't have the power to stop this from happening'.

Under UN conventions governing the oceans, military drills are allowed within the economic zones of other states provided they do not stray into territorial waters.

The drill will form part of much broader Russian naval exercises involving 140 ships and 10,000 troops from all of its naval fleets that will take place in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, North Sea and Sea of Okhotsk from January until February.

It comes against the backdrop of Russia's troop build-up on the border of Ukraine, which has sparked fears of a war in Europe and a standoff between East and West.

Amid fears that an invasion is imminent, the UK began withdrawing diplomats from its mission in Kiev today - following a similar US move at the weekend.

Russia is planning to hold live-fire naval drills off the Irish coast next month, with Dublin saying the ships are 'not welcome' (file image, Russian ships near Saint Petersburg last year) The drills will take place 150 miles from Ireland's south west coast, and comes amid the build-up of troops near the border with Ukraine amid fears of a war in Europe Ukrainian territorial volunteers take part in military training near Kiev at the weekend amid fears Russia could invade Civilian volunteers who are part of the Ukrainian territorial army take part in training near Kiev at the weekend

Half of the UK's diplomatic mission and their families will leave the country, after the US ordered families of its staff to go and offered non-essential embassy staff space on flights back home.

Having already threatened 'swift and severe' economic sanctions if Ukraine is attacked, President Biden was today considering whether to deploy additional troops to the region to counter Russia's build-up.

Plans presented to the US president at the weekend included sending 1,000 to 5,000 troops to Baltic states neighbouring Russia - with the option of ramping up to 50,000 troops backed by warplanes and ships if the security situation deteriorates.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenburg confirmed today that the alliance will be beefing up its own presence in the region, with additional ships and fighter jets deployed.

Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and deploying F-16 war planes to Lithuania.


Boris Johnson warned Putin that invading Ukraine would be a 'disastrous step' and a 'painful, violent and bloody business'

The UK has ordered some of its embassy staff out of Ukraine (pictured, the embassy in Kiev) due to fears that Russia could launch an attack



Credit: Read more from dailymail.co.uk