Russia demands answers from Ireland about security stance

Ireland is among the countries to receive a terse letter from the Russian government demanding answers about its security policy as tensions rise over Ukraine.

The letters, signed by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, were sent to a wide group of countries including the United States, Canada and European states at a delicate moment as Russian troops massed near the Ukraine border.

The letters question whether the recipients have abided by a security agreement signed in 1999, broadly casting western countries as the aggressors in current tensions.

“You are well aware that Russia is seriously concerned about increasing politico-military tensions in the immediate vicinity of its western borders,” reads a version of the letter published by the Russian government.

There are “serious differences in the understanding of the principle of equal and indivisible security that is fundamental to the entire European security architecture,” it adds.

“We believe it is necessary to immediately clarify this issue, as it will determine the prospects for future dialogue.”

The letter refers to a 1999 agreement of the 57-member Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), signed in Istanbul at a time when Bertie Ahern was taoiseach.

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