SNP ‘capitalising on Ukrainian heartache’ and must apologise, MP says

NICOLA Sturgeon should apologise for the “disgraceful” comparisons between the war in Ukraine and Scottish independence, an MP has said.

Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, said the comments by Mike Russell and Michelle Thompson were an attempt to ‘manipulate Ukrainian’s heartache’ into a point about the Scottish constitution.

Ms Jardine was speaking following the remarks by Mr Russell in a blog post on the SNP website in which he liken Ukraine potentially being ruled by Russia to Scotland remaining in the UK as a “result of an eight-year-old referendum”.

SNP MSP Ms Thomson also apologised after tweeting about Ukraine’s application to join the European Union accompanied by the message: “Just goes to show what political will can achieve. Remember this Scotland!”

She also said that she was “delighted for Ukraine”. 

In his column published last week, Mr Russell wrote: “The right of people to choose how they are governed and by whom is an absolute and must be universally applied, respecting each and every democratic mandate.

“Nor can that right be circumscribed by history – just because something was, doesn’t mean it will always continue to be so whether that be rule from Moscow, or the result of an eight-year-old referendum.”

Earlier the First Minister said there was “no connection” between what was happening in Ukraine and the arguments over an independent Scotland

Ms Jardine said this did not go far enough and Nicola Sturgeon should apologise. 

She said: “I am disappointed that the SNP leadership has neither apologised nor moved to distance itself from the unacceptable and inappropriate comparison, between Scotland and Ukraine.

“The people of Ukraine are fighting and dying to defend their country from a foreign aggressor. They deserve so much better than to have their heartache manipulated as a political tool.

“This disgraceful comparison also does a disservice to the people of Scotland who are showing their unstinting support for Ukraine on a daily basis.

“I am proud of the expressions of support from so many, particularly in Edinburgh which is twinned with Kyiv,  but the SNP must apologise.”

Earlier Ms Sturgeon said it would be “overstating things” to suggest that comparisons had been made.

She added: “There is no connection between a war in Ukraine and the support and campaign for independence in Scotland.

“What I think should unite all of us right now are some fundamental values, the values that underpin I think much of our democracy in Scotland – and certainly underpin my party and the independence movement – the commitment to democracy, freedom, the rule of international law and the value of the world coming together in solidarity.

“These are the values that we hold dear and these are the values that people bravely in Ukraine are standing up for in the toughest imaginable circumstances.”

“But we should all remember right now this is about Ukraine fighting for these values and our responsibility is to do everything we can to support them.”

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