‘No direct comparison’ Constitution chief slams SNP boss over Ukraine link to independence

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Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution Angus Robertson distanced himself from comments made by Michael Russell in a blog post which saw the SNP President make comparisons between Ukraine’s history and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Mr Russell said the past should not affect the future “whether that be rule from Moscow or the result of an eight-year-old referendum”. Mr Robertson was put on the spot to answer for the comments but attacked them and said there should be no direct link between Ukraine and Scotland’s campaign for independence.

Speaking on ITV’s Representing Border, Mr Robertson was grilled over the comments and was asked whether SNP politicians should link Scottish independence and Ukraine.

Mr Robertson replied: “There is no direct comparison between Ukraine, a country fighting to retain its independence, its sovereignty, its territorial integrity against military aggressors.

“And us in Scotland a democratic country able to make a decision about its future… we voted to be able to make a decision about our future and that is exactly what we should do.

“But there is no direct comparison between what is happening in Ukraine and what is happening in Scotland.

“Where there is a comparison is that people in this country look towards Ukraine with the greatest of sympathy and wish us all to do everything that we can do to help them in their hour of need.”

When pressed over whether Mr Russell was wrong for the comments, Mr Robertson began to get frustrated.

He added: “I’m not going to be a drawn into a ‘he says she says’ I’ve told you exactly what the position is.

“There is no direct comparison between the situation in Scotland and the situation in Ukraine. They are facing a military invasion. We live in a democratic state.”

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Mr Russell wrote in a blog post on Monday: “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.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie branded the comments as “utterly crass” with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stating there was “no connection” to independence and Ukraine.

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Ms Sturgeon 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.”

Ms Sturgeon is aiming to hold an independence referendum by the end of 2023.

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