Russia reveals whether it will relocate naval drills at Ireland's request

The military exercises were set to take place in international waters in Ireland’s exclusive economic zone

The Russian Embassy in Dublin confirmed the site move for the drills, which are taking place between February 3 and 8, in a statement to RIA Novosti on Saturday.

The Embassy said that the planned military exercise will take place outside of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Earlier on Saturday, Simon Coveney, who holds Ireland’s foreign affairs and defense ministries, revealed that he'd personally asked Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to reconsider the location of the drills.

“This evening I received a letter confirming the Russian exercises will be relocated outside of Ireland’s EEZ. I welcome this response,” Coveney wrote.

Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov called the move of the exercises a “gesture of goodwill” in a statement and said moving outside the zone was done with “the aim not to hinder fishing activities by the Irish vessels in the traditional fishing areas.”

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Credit: Russia’s Ministry of Defense
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Ireland has previously protested the planned drills, saying they were not “welcome” and citing tensions around Ukraine as the supposed reason the maneuvers were unwanted in its EEZ. Dublin had admitted it had no authority to prevent the military drills, which were set to take place on international waters, 240 kilometers (150 miles) off the southwest coast of Ireland.

Irish fishing representatives held what was described as a “very positive” meeting with Filatov on Thursday, following threats amplified by the media that some fishermen will try to disrupt the drills. During the Thursday meeting in Dublin, the two sides agreed on a 60-80-kilometer (37-49-mile) buffer zone between the fishing boats and the Russian warships.

Russia’s live-fire drills in the Atlantic are part of large-scale naval exercises which will be taking place in several regions of the world. They will include over 140 warships and support vessels, as well as approximately 10,000 participating troops.


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