Nicola Sturgeon says there is “no connection” between the war in Ukraine and the campaign for Scottish independence, following “crass” comments by fellow SNP members.
Earlier, SNP president Mike Russell was criticised for likening the prospect of Ukraine being ruled by Russia with Scotland remaining in the UK as a “result of an eight-year-old referendum”.
In his column in The National, 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.”
His comments were branded “crass” by Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie, and Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said there is “no direct comparison” between the situation in Ukraine and Scotland.
Michelle Thomson, MSP for Falkirk East, has also been forced to apologise after tweeting about Ukraine’s application to join the European Union.
She wrote: “Just goes to show what political will can achieve.
“Remember this Scotland!”
Ms Thomson has since deleted her tweet and posted: “I noted and then tweeted something earlier that was insensitive regarding Ukraine.
I noted and then tweeted something earlier that was insensitive regarding Ukraine. Like everyone, my first thoughts are sympathy for the people there. Apologies if I offended anyone. 🇺🇦
— Michelle Thomson (@MichelleThomson) February 28, 2022
“Like everyone, my first thoughts are sympathy for the people there.
“Apologies if I offended anyone.”
‘No connection’, says first minister
Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Sturgeon said it would be “overstating things” to suggest a comparison between the war in Ukraine and Scottish independence had been made.
She said: “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.”