SNP MPs hijack Ukraine trip to make promotional stunt for Scottish independence

Ukraine: Deputy Defence Minister addresses possible invasion

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Three MPs held talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Mykola Tochytskyi in Kiev, amid the mounting threat of Russian invasion. Following the meeting, Alyn Smith – who was joined by SMPs Stewart McDonald and Dave Doogan – shared a video to social media saying: “International law is more important for smaller states than bigger ones, and as an aspiring member of the international community, Scotland takes this seriously”. But several political figures hit out at the statement, with Scottish Conservative Shadow Secretary for the Constitution, Donald Cameron accusing the MP of “grandstanding”.

He said: “Given foreign affairs is a reserved matter for the UK Government, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this trip is more about SNP grandstanding than helping resolve the crisis in Ukraine.

“Indeed, Alyn Smith pretty much admits it’s about Scottish independence when he describes Scotland as ‘an aspiring member of the international community’.

“There is a major international flashpoint on the Russia-Ukraine border that world leaders are desperately trying to diffuse, and yet typically the SNP somehow find a way of making it about the constitution.”

Former SNP defence spokesman Stuart Crawford agreed, slamming the trio as “narcissistic”.

He told the Scottish Daily Express: “The bigger question is why are they out there flying the flag and pretending to be representatives of a soon to be independent state? It just doesn’t wash, it’s fantasyland.

“I think they are out of their depth and don’t know what they are talking about.

“They are grandstanding in a narcissistic manner to emphasise their own importance.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s control over the SNP contingent at Westminster is tenuous at best and this is indicative of the turmoil the SNP finds itself in at the moment.”

When asked by the Scottish Daily Express, the SNP declined to say if First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had approved the visit in advance.

But a spokesperson for the party added: “We find it strange that anyone should seek to criticise democratically elected members of the UK Parliament for engaging on this issue.”

In his statement, Mr Smith, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman at Westminster, said: “We’re here as an SNP see what’s happening on the ground in this situation because it’s a sensitive time and we need to make sure that we calm down any excessive hysteria about the situation.

“But also to underline that Ukraine has friends and the SNP will always stand foursquare in the defence of international law.”

This comes amid mounting fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as Vladimir Putin has built up 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border.

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Mr Putin has refused to stand down his troops, demanding that NATO refuse to admit Ukraine into the defensive alliance.

He also accused the West of deliberately trying to lure Russia into war and ignoring Russia’s security concerns over Ukraine.

He said: “Ukraine itself is just an instrument to achieve this goal.

“This can be done in different ways, by drawing us into some kind of armed conflict and, with the help of their allies in Europe, forcing the introduction against us of those harsh sanctions they are talking about now in the U.S.”

NATO has stationed roughly 4,000 troops in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, supported by tanks, air defences and intelligence and surveillance units.

A total of 8,500 US troops have also been put on heightened alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe, the Pentagon has said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of “gloomy” intelligence, suggesting that Moscow is planning an imminent raid on Kiev. has contacted the SNP for comment.

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