A truck driver was arrested Monday after ramming the gates of the Russian Embassy in Dublin during a protest of the invasion of Ukraine—an attack a mission spokeswoman called "barbaric." Desmond Wisley of Leitrim got out of the truck, the Irish Times reports, and told bystanders, "I just done this to create a safe corridor for the Russian ambassador to leave Ireland." Ukraine officials have asked Russia to provide safe corridors for people fleeing the fighting, but the routes offered mostly lead only to Russia or Belarus, and the firing has continued despite negotiated cease-fires.
The embassy's reaction Monday was to criticize police, saying, "The incident took place in the presence of Garda officers, who stood idle" and calling the lack of protection a breach of the Vienna Convention, per the BBC. "No people of sound mind could support such senseless and barbaric actions," the spokeswoman said. The embassy's tone changed later in the day, when it issued a statement thanking Irish officials. Protests have been held at the compound daily since the invasion, and about 20 minutes before Monday's attack, police cleared demonstrators sitting in the road to let a convoy of diplomatic cars leave the embassy.
Russian Ambassador Yuriy Filatov stirred anger last week when he said Ireland was behind "anti-Russian events" in the European Union. Red paint has been splattered on the embassy entrance several times, and anti-Russian graffiti has appeared. Before his arrest, Wisley handed out photos he said showed Russian atrocities committed in the invasion. Wisley, who with his family runs a church-supply business, said he just wants the Russian ambassador and embassy staff to leave. "I've done my bit, lads," he said as police led him away. "It's about time the rest of Ireland done their bit." (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)