Responding to the Russian incursion into eastern regions of Ukraine, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has today urged the First Minister to review the New Scot Strategy in preparation for assisting Ukrainian refugees, set out plans for tackling "dirty Russian money" in Scotland, and schedule a parliamentary debate to allow parliamentarians to discuss what further measures could be implemented.
Mr Cole-Hamilton also hit out at former First Minister Alex Salmond, accusing him of working for a channel which exists to spread pro-Putin propaganda.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Scottish Liberal Democrats put forward proposals for ministers to answer urgent questions in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon on this unfolding crisis and we are disappointed that this has not been granted. Ukrainian sovereignty is under threat, and we have a duty to do what we can to show our support.
“I urge the First Minister to clearly state that Ukrainian refugees will be welcome in Scotland, and that we will not abandon them, and to reassure the Ukrainian diaspora in Scotland that we are doing everything in this Government’s power to help their loved ones. She should review the New Scot strategy to ensure that mechanisms are in place to support people fleeting this conflict."
“With the UK Government introducing limited sanctions against Putin's cronies, we must also consider what measures Scotland could take to drive out dirty Russian money. Putin has made a terrible decision; we must ensure he pays a terrible price.
"Finally ministers should immediately schedule a parliamentary debate to give parliamentarians a chance to discuss what additional measures should be on the table.
"Since 1989 Kiev and Edinburgh have been twin cities. In their hour of need, let's give that relationship a real meaning."
Responding to the continued existence of The Alex Salmond Show on RT (formerly Russia Today) and Alba party MP Neale Hanvey raising concerns over "Russia's security interests", Mr Cole-Hamilton added:
"It is absolutely shambolic that a former First Minister and current party leader has a show on RT, a network that exists to parrot Putin's soundbites. Alex Salmond is an embarrassment not just to the high office he once served but to the whole of Scotland. All party leaders should join me in making clear that our parliamentarians will not lend legitimacy to this propaganda broadcaster.
"I had hoped that Scottish MPs would be able to speak with one voice in calling out the invasion of Ukraine as an unjustified act of aggression. Sadly the Alba party seem more concerned with the interests of the Russian military machine than they do the people of Ukraine who just want to live in peace."