Holding Putin’s diplomats to account for war - Lorna Slater
Dear Mr Yakovlev,
Last week saw the reported bombing of a maternity hospital and a pre-school. These are places for children and families, not military targets.
Thousands of lives have been lost, with Russian forces showing a disregard for civilians. No military that is doing all that it can to avoid civilian casualties would use deadly and indiscriminate weapons like cluster bombs or fire ballistic missiles into densely populated areas.
Like my colleagues in the Scottish Greens, and the Scottish Government, I condemn this attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty. It is an immoral and illegal war, and we reject it in the strongest possible terms. Every day that it continues will see more misery, more atrocities and more deaths.
I want to pay my respect to the thousands of people across Russia who have risked their freedom and safety to protest against the war. Many of them have been treated appallingly and some are facing unfair criminal charges due to the oppressive nature of Putin’s regime.
Here in Edinburgh, we have a large and vibrant Ukrainian population. I have heard from a lot of them over these last two weeks. Many are afraid for their friends and family in Ukraine. They feel anxiety, anger and trepidation every time that they watch the news.
There are also many Russians in our city. They are certainly not to blame for Putin’s actions and can see the violence and the injustice that is being inflicted. Many have joined protests against the invasion and have stood shoulder to shoulder and side by side with our Ukrainian community.
As a member of the Scottish Parliament, I will continue to stand and act in solidarity with people in Ukraine. I will continue to call for all governments to cut their ties to Putin and his associates and to provide practical support for people who have been impacted by this terrible war.
I am proud that the Scottish Government is contributing £4 million worth of humanitarian aid, as well as medical equipment and supplies to Ukraine. The First Minister has sought urgent advice on the “maximum possible action” that the Scottish Government can take against individuals and organisations that are linked to Vladimir Putin’s government and have assets and connections in Scotland.
You are a representative of Putin’s regime in Scotland. You may not be responsible for what is happening, but you are a figurehead for the Kremlin. The Scottish Government has called for all Russian diplomats to be expelled from the country, and, as a statement of solidarity with people in Ukraine, I support this position.
I hope that you understand the anger and distress that the immoral, illegal and totally unjustified invasion has caused in Ukraine and beyond. I urge you to consider your position and the crisis that the government you represent has inflicted.
Lorna Slater MSP
Member of the Scottish Parliament (Lothian Region)
Scottish Green Party Co-Leader