Russia will relocate naval exercises set to be held off the coast of Ireland early next month after Irish officials and fishermen raised concerns, according to the Russian embassy in Ireland.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will instead move the exercises outside the Irish exclusive economic zone “with the aim not to hinder fishing activities by the Irish vessels in the traditional fishing areas,” according to press release from the Russian embassy in Ireland shared on Facebook on Saturday. The drills had been set to occur from Feb. 3 to Feb. 8 about 150 miles off the coast of Ireland.
Shoygu made the decision “as a gesture of goodwill” following a request from the Irish government and the Irish South and West Fish Producer’s Organization, per the release.
This comes as Europe is under high alert as Russia has amassed at least 100,000 troops near the border of Ukraine, raising concerns of a potential invasion.
“In light of the current political and security environment in Europe, the Department of Foreign Affairs has raised a number of concerns with the Russian authorities in respect of these exercises,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in a statement on Sunday.
“The fact that they’re choosing to do it on the western borders, if you like, off the EU, off the Irish coast, is something that, in our view is simply not welcome and not wanted right now, particularly in the coming weeks, “he told reporters.
Russia is also set to hold military drills in Belarus from Feb. 10 to Feb. 20.
President BidenJoe BidenFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Romney tests positive for coronavirus Pelosi sidesteps progressives’ March 1 deadline for Build Back Better MORE announced this week he would send a small number of troops to Eastern Europe, with 8,500 US troops under heightened alert for potential deployment. On Saturday, the United Kingdom, a NATO ally, said it was considering sending a major deployment of troops to Eastern Europe.