SCOTTISH LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has labelled Alex Salmond’s continued TV programme on Russian state television “an embarrassment to our nation” amid escalating tensions over Ukraine.
Former first minister Alex Salmond holds a weekly show on Russia Today, owned by the Russian state.
But amid vast criticism of around 100,000 Russian troops gathering on the Ukraine border and concerns an invasion could be imminent, renewed calls have been made for the Alba leader to end his connection with Putin’s government.
Mr Cole-Hamilton has insisted politicians from his party will not appear on Russia Today and is calling on Mr Salmond to quit his programme.
He said: “Putin’s build-up of troops menacing Ukraine’s eastern border is an attempt to compel through force or threat its smaller neighbour to do as it wishes. That is a grave breach of international law.
“This is a dangerous escalation in Russian foreign policy and it should be called out.
“Here in the west, Putin’s propaganda broadcasters represent a powerful tool in his foreign policy arsenal for spreading confusion and disinformation.
“No representative of a Scottish party should be appearing on their channels. I hope that the other party leaders will join me in instructing their parliamentarians to reject Putin’s propagandists.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton added: “Being Putin’s useful idiot may have stroked Alex Salmond’s ego and filled his bank account but it’s an embarrassment to our nation that a former first minister could sink so low.
“If Alex Salmond had a shred of regard for human rights around the world he should step aside and quit laundering the reputation of the Russian regime.”
Alba was contacted for comment and highlighted a statement issued yesterday by the party’s Westminster group leader, Neale Hanvey.
Mr Hanvey pointed the finger at the UK and US governments, accusing them of “determined hyping” of the prospect of a war in Ukraine.
He said: “I have been watching with growing concern the apparent and increasing appetite for conflict in Ukraine. In recent days this has developed into a determined hyping of impending conflict with many weekend newspapers running front page headlines that lacked any credible evidence to support such alarm in the copy below.
“What we have repeatedly heard is assertions from UK and US sources of intelligence that such a conflict is imminent, but again there has been a distinct lack of evidence beyond those assertions when the matter has been pressed.
“Memories may be short in some journalistic and political circles, but I know that many have not forgotten the catastrophic consequences of the dodgy dossier that took us to war in Iraq. We must not repeat such mistakes and we cannot go to war based on assertions.
“No more clearly has this sentiment been expressed than by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy who stated yesterday that he himself has yet to see convincing evidence. It is simply inconceivable that we should be ramping up the case for war when the President of the country concerned remains unconvinced that a case for conflict exists.”