DUBLIN (Reuters) – Russia will not conduct naval exercises in international waters in the Irish Sea next week following a request from the Irish government to relocate the manoeuvres, Moscow’s ambassador to Ireland said on Saturday.
Ireland was notified last week that the exercises would take place around 240 kilometres off the south west coast within its exclusive economic zone but not its territorial waters, meaning it was permitted under international law.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the plans were not welcome, particularly at a time when the United States and other western allies fear Russia could be preparing to invade Ukraine after amassing more than 100,000 troops near its borders.
Russia, which denies it is planning any invasion of its neighbour, decided to relocate the naval exercises as a “gesture of goodwill” to Dublin and Irish fishing groups, Ambassador Yury Filatov said in a statement.
Coveney said on Twitter that he welcomed the response.
Some Irish fishermen had said they planned to fish in the area close to where the Russian military exercises were due to take place in protest.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)