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01st Aug 2022

Michael D. Higgins issues statement on Ukraine following controversy over his wife’s letter

Stephen Porzio

The letter from Sabina Higgins has been described as “under-informed” and “painful”.

President Michael D. Higgins has reiterated his condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid controversy surrounding a letter written by his wife about the conflict.

Last week, Sabina Higgins wrote to the Irish Times to criticise an editorial from the paper regarding the war which did not encourage any ceasefire negotiations that might lead to a peace settlement.

“Until the world persuades President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations, the long haul of terrible war will go on,” she wrote in the letter which has come under criticism.

In an interview with RTÉ, Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik called it “under-informed” and “painful”.

“It’s very easy to call for the peaceful negotiations when you are not actually inside the war,” she said.

“I can tell you, there is too much blood, too much pain and no security guarantees so that this peace would be possible.

“We are not aiming for peace, we are aiming for victory.”

Multiple outlets have reported that the letter from Ms Higgins was also published on the President’s official website but was later taken down.

In recent days, various Government TDs and Senators have called on Mr Higgins to address his wife’s comments.

On Monday (1 August), a spokesperson for the President commented that Mr Higgins has been “unequivocal” in his condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“He has repeatedly condemned what he has described as the illegal, immoral and unjustifiable Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the statement published in the Irish Times reads.

“He has called for an immediate Russian withdrawal and end to the violence.

“He has voiced his steadfast support for the victims of this terrible conflict and met with Ukrainian refugees in Ireland and the Ukrainian Ambassador many times.

“President Higgins has stressed the importance of using every available ‘chink of diplomacy’.”

The statement, however, did not reference the letter from Ms Higgins.

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