The world is "fundamentally different" after Russia attacked Ukraine, Taoiseach of Ireland Micheal Martin said during a one-day visit to Estonia and Finland on Friday (April 8).
Asked what the visits to the two border countries have shown him during a press conference with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform), Martin said: "The visits have brought home to me and reaffirmed that the world is now fundamentally different because of Russia's unjustifiable war in Ukraine."
He said it was important for Ireland, a non-NATO member, to meet with countries on the border so politicians can understand each other's points of view and appreciate "what is at stake" for Estonia and Finland.
"Whilst we are a militarily neutral country, we are not politically or morally neutral in the face of war crimes — quite the opposite," he said. "We need stronger sanctions that bring it home to Putin and his regime that he will not, that he cannot, succeed."
Ireland supports Ukraine's ambition to join the EU and will push for further sanctions. He said: "The Irish people are fully behind the Ukrainian people and the Irish people are horrified by the barbarity of this war on the civilians of Ukraine."
During a meeting earlier in the day, the pair discussed security, the green transition, cybersecurity, e-health and digital cooperation.
"Challenging times call for friends to work even [more] closely together," Kallas said.
What more can be done to help Ukraine, including how refugees can be helped was also raised. So far, Ireland has welcomed over 20,000 refugees fleeing the war.
"This support of the Irish people today reminds me of the Second World War when and the kindness the Irish people showed to the Estonias who were then on the way to the U.S and Canada as refugees escaping from the brutality of Soviet and Nazi occupiers," Kallas said.
The prime minister said Estonia has so far accepted more than 28,000 refugees —2.1 percent of the population — making it the fourth-largest number across European countries.
"We are in this for the long haul and most look for ways to share this burden," Kallas said.
The press conference can be watched below:
Editor: Helen Wright