A group of Irish fishermen held back the Russian military

Last week, the Russian Navy announced plans to execute a series of military exercises in the waters off the western coast of Ireland. As CNN reported on Monday, January 24, 2022:

Russian naval exercises are due to take place in early February, approximately 240 kilometers (149 miles) off Ireland's southwest coast, [Irish Foreign Affairs Minister] Simon Coveney said in a statement late Sunday. The area is in Ireland's EEZ but not its territorial waters.

Under international law, states are entitled to carry out naval exercises in another state's EEZ, Coveney said. He said the Irish Aviation Authority had been informed of the exercise via standard procedures.

Things were tense there for a while. But diplomacy ultimately prevailed … thanks to a small group of stubborn Irish fishermen who weren't having any of it. Members of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organization intervened, explaining to everyone they could how the military demonstration would cause long-term damage to the marine ecosystem that sustains them. This ultimately got them a meeting with the Russian ambassador to Ireland, who later released a statement saying:

In response to the requests from the Irish government as well as from the Irish South and West Fish Producers 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 to 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.

That being said, The Irish Mirror also reported that the Russian embassy disputed their own statement:

That claim was partially disputed by a spokesperson for the Russian embassy, who said it was "not true" that an agreement had been reached on "buffer zones" in the area for fishing boats.


It is not yet known where the exercises will take place but Mr Coveney said that is now a matter for the Russians, adding: "This is a good result for diplomacy."

Here are some interviews with the badass fishermen: