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UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, Denys Shmyhal is to meet the Taoiseach in Shannon Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

Staff at Shannon Airport were advised on Wednesday morning that a significant visit was to occur that afternoon.

Government sources have confirmed that Taoiseach, Micheál Martin (FF) is to meet with the Ukraine Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal as part of a stopover on his way to the United States of America. Their meeting is expected to take place after 2pm on Wednesday.

It is the first major engagement between a Ukrainian political leader and a key member of Irish Government to take place in Ireland since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

Clare Senator, Timmy Dooley (FF) has visited the Ukraine twice since the war broke out with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney (FG) travelling to Kyiv last week.

Shannon hosting the engagement between Shymal and the Taoiseach is both historic and significant.

Co Clare has welcomed in over 2,000 Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion in February. The population of Lisdoonvarna has doubled such is the amount of persons that have fled war to live in the North Clare town.

Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol will fight to the bitter end, Prime Minister Shmyhal said in recent days.

Last week Russia urged troops in the besieged port city to surrender by Easter Monday but Shmyhal explained the deadline was one Ukrainians were always going to ignore. He stressed, “the city has not fallen” and added, “There is still our military forces, our soldiers, so they will fight until the end. And as for now, they still are in Mariupol.”

Mariupol is a strategically key coastal city and if it were to fall Russia would control a vast land corridor between the Donbas and Crimea. It would also curtail much of Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea – something that would have a devastating impact on her ability to trade with the outside world. As a consequence, Russia has been shelling the city relentlessly and last week the local mayor said some 10,000 civilians had died – a toll that he believes could soon double as the bombardment continues.

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