Irish Defence Forces and Britain's Royal Navy spotted multiple Russian ships in Irish waters, according to a Sunday report by Irish Public Media outlet RTE. Russian ships are banned from both European Union and British ports, and the detection of at least four Russian vessels, including one warship, has raised cause for alarm among Irish authorities.
At least four Russian vessels, including a warship and other Russian-registered merchant ships, have been observed off the Irish coast. Among the spotted vessels were the Admiral Grigorovich, a Russian warship known as a frigate, among the multiple vessels that sailed into Ireland's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Ireland's EEZ spans 200 miles off of the nation's coastline. The Irish Navy captured photos of another ship, a tanker named the Kama, which was seen reportedly refueling the Russian frigate ship, Irish media reported.
The vessels were seen near undersea cables, reports said, posing an immediate threat to Irish security. If the cables were sabotaged, significant damage could be caused to internet traffic or to aspects of Irish personal, national, international, or commercial matters.
Though the vessels are now heading back to Russian waters, this is not an isolated incident. In April 2023, at least three Russian vessels were spotted near the Irish coastline near Kerry and Galway.
According to a comment by a spokesperson from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence, "That is why we increased Royal Navy presence patrols after the Nord Stream incident and have invested £65 million in the first of our two Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance ships."
Cause for concern for Irish security
Defense and security analyst Declan Power wrote in The Sunday Times "The fact that Russian vessels have again entered Ireland's exclusive economic zone represents an escalation in President Putin's attempts to intimidate the country and keep western Europe off balance."
Power added that "It requires further depth of monitoring and analysis, and it requires us to question our resources and how we respond and how we maintain the integrity of our territory."
He also told RTÉ News that "It's very much about trying to influence public opinion, trying to intimidate public opinion, trying to intimidate the body politic," referring to Russian tactics.