Russia will relocate its scheduled military drills so that they take place outside the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone following pressure from Irish fishermen and the Irish Government.
Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov said in a statement on Saturday evening that the Russian Ministry of Defence had made the gesture out of "goodwill".
"In response to the requests from the Irish government as well as from the Irish South and West Fish Producer's Organisation, the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu has made a decision, as a gesture of goodwill, to relocate the exercises by the Russian Navy, planned for February 3-8, outside the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ), with the aim not to hinder fishing activities by the Irish vessels in the traditional fishing areas," Filatov said in a statement on Saturday.
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney welcomed the news in a statement on Twitter.
"This week I wrote to my counterpart, the Minister of Defence of Russia, to request a reconsideration of naval exercises off the Irish coast. This evening I received a letter confirming the Russian exercises will be relocated outside of Ireland’s EEZ. I welcome this response," Coveney said.
This week I wrote to my counterpart, the Minister of Defence of Russia, to request a reconsideration of naval exercises off the Irish coast. This evening I received a letter confirming the Russian exercises will be relocated outside of Ireland’s EEZ. I welcome this response.— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) January 29, 2022
Coveney also told RTÉ News that the intention to hold live-fire military drills within the Irish EEZ was "causing unnecessary tension".
"Fishermen quite rightly highlighted that this is a very active fishing ground so I made the case clearly and strongly to them that Ireland would appreciate if these military exercises moved away from Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone," Coveney told RTÉ.
The Irish Aviation Authority said that its notice to civil aviation will remain in place until the Russian authorities confirm the new location for the military drills.
The scheduled drills caused outrage amongst Irish fishermen, who said that up to 60 trawlers would continue to operate in the area as a form of peaceful protest.
The protests captured international attention and featured in a 10-minute segment on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC last week.
Brendan Byrne of the Irish Fish Processors & Exporters Association told Sky News on Saturday evening that the decision to relocate the military drills was a "great boost for the fishing industry".
Byrne said that the Russian Navy may have "miscalculated" by trying to hold live-fire drills in lucrative fishing waters.
He said that his organization is now calling for a ten-year moratorium on all naval exercises by any country within Ireland's EEZ for ecological and fishing reasons.