Home Europe Russia relocates missile firing drill off Irish coast after outcry

Russia relocates missile firing drill off Irish coast after outcry

Kalibr cruise missile launch
Illustration: Russian defense ministry file photo

Russia has decided to move a planned missile firing drill outside of Ireland’s exclusive economic zone after protests from Irish officials and fishermen.

The original plan was to hold a drill some 130 nautical miles, or 240 kilometers, off the coast of County Cork, Ireland.

While the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea would have allowed Russia to conduct such a drill at the location, the announcement sparked widespread protest in Ireland.

In addition to the threat to fishing in the region, Irish officials said the drill could pose threat to endangered species, with Ireland’s junior minister Malcolm Noonan pointing to the fact that military sonar can have “devastating consequences” for a number of species.

The Russian defense ministry in Ireland has now said a “goodwill decision” had been made to relocate the exercise.

The maneuver was moved further away from the coast “with the aim not to hinder fishing activities by the Irish vessels in the traditional fishing areas,” Russia’s ambassador to Ireland Yuriy Filatov said in a statement.

The statement did not provide specifics on where exactly the drill, planned for February 3-8, would now take place.

Russia revealed plans for the drill off Ireland after its defense ministry said that over 100 Russian Navy ships, more than 50 aircraft, and 10,000 personnel would deploy on various drills in all areas of operations in January and February this year.