Scottish Labour unreservedly opposes Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. We believe it is an unprovoked, unjustifiable outrage and a heinous violation of international law that will have tragic consequences. We stand with our allies and partners in condemning it in the strongest possible terms, and we must maintain and strengthen our unity and resolve. Scottish Labour stand in complete solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they bravely resist this assault.
The scenes of war and slaughter, such as the shelling of civilian areas by the Russian military, are unconscionable. Those who value freedom and democracy and the right for people to live in peace must do all that we can to support Ukraine. This includes financial aid, humanitarian relief and the supply of military equipment so that the Ukrainian people can bravely defend themselves. Scottish Labour rejects any false attempts to justify Russian aggression.
We believe that the hardest possible sanctions must be taken against all those linked to Putin and against the Russian government’s interests, working in a coordinated and unified way with our allies to ensure the Putin regime faces the severest possible consequences. We welcome that the UK, EU and US have agreed to disconnect some Russian banks from Swift, but there is much more the UK government can do to cut Putin’s rogue regime out of our financial system.
After more than a decade of inaction, the influence of corrupt Russian money must now be extricated from the UK. The UK Tory government must now bring forward the urgent measures the Labour Party have repeatedly called for.
The Scottish Labour Party’s commitment to NATO is unshakeable, and the alliance have strongly condemned Putin’s actions. We must move in lockstep with our NATO allies. It is right that Britain has provided support to Ukraine to defend itself – and this should continue.
Ukraine is under fire. People are fleeing war. Yet the Home Office are still applying normal visa restrictions such as on salaries, English language, and only close relatives. UK Government Ministers are telling refugees to apply for visas designed for fruit-pickers. This isn’t solidarity with Ukraine, it is immoral. Scottish Labour believes the UK Government must urgently provide a simple sanctuary route to the UK for all who need it.
While The Scottish Government does not have immediate powers over immigration and refugees, they must use the extend of all their devolved powers to welcome, protect and support all Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Scotland. For example, in education, reclassing Ukrainian students with home fee status if they wish to enroll in higher education courses, and supporting Scottish institutions to employ staff and academics who arrive here from Ukrainian universities; or in housing, the Scottish Government should be working with their partners already to support housing provision for those who arrive.