THE Irish government is to speak to Ryanair after the airline was accused of increasing fares from Poland to Ireland - a route being used by Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko last week said the Irish budget airline had hiked its prices in the wake of the Russian invasion.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair dismissed Ms Gerasko's claim.

"Completely untrue - we have very low fare flights coming to and from Poland,” he said at the Cheltenham Festival racecourse on Wednesday.

“All of the airports, we’ve checked into it, and all the flights are filling up and as they fill up they pay the highest fares.

“But we have on today, tomorrow and in the coming days fares of €20 one way, €50 one way. There’s loads of cheap flights out there.”

Today Irish transport minister Eamon Ryan said he would speak to the airline after a meeting with Ms Gerrasko.

"We're in constant touch with Ryanair. Through the previous Covid crisis, on a number of occasions, they helped us in terms of getting people out of difficult places in different ways," Mr Ryan said on Monday.

"Let me first of all talk to the ambassador and then I'll talk to Ryanair without a doubt," he told RTE radio.

Ireland in common with all other EU countries, but unlike the UK, has waived visa requirements for Ukrainians.

The minister confirmed that his country has already taken in around 10,000 refugees fleeing the war.

"We have... in this country, like every other European country, opened our doors and how we manage that - we have some 10,000 people arrived already - there will be more coming and the challenge that presents is immense beyond compare," he said.

Mr Ryan also said that Ireland will be pushing for more punitive sanctions against Russia, when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels later on Monday.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney will be at that meeting and Mr Ryan said that Ireland would back tougher measures taken against Russian oil and gas.

"We will be pushing for the further, stronger sanctions. We don't have fighter jets. We can't enforce a no fly zone over over Ukraine but we can and will put further pressure in every way we can on the Russian Government to desist and stop," he said.

Asked about sanctions on Russian fuel, he said: "I think if we can get agreement and it has to be based on collective agreement, that's our strength, we would introduce whatever sanctions are applied straightaway."

Ireland is less reliant on Russian oil and gas than some European counterparts, with only 2-3% of gas supplies in the country coming from imported Russian gas.

The minister, who is also the leader of the Green Party in Ireland, said that he did not believe fuel rationing was a likely prospect, he stressed no one could predict the next direction of the war.

"We're in a war situation. No one knows how this might escalate. And we do have to provide wartime measures, in effect, to manage supplies, but I'm confident we can do that."