The Ukrainian people are the heroes of Europe and Edinburgh stands united with them – Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey

We are once again witnessing the horrors of war in Europe. This unprovoked, illegal attack by dictator and war criminal Vladimir Putin hits very close to home.

Not just because of the proximity of this war, but because of the family and civic connections between our nations and, in particular, between Edinburgh and our twin city Kyiv.

The bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people and the president, MPs and mayors (who are standing by their constituents with Kalashnikovs in their hands, ready to fight to protect their nation) is nothing short of remarkable.

Of course, the Russian people are not hearing of the thousands of Russian soldiers killed. Nor are they hearing about the men, women and children their soldiers are murdering.

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They’re being fed lies by government-controlled “news” that’s completely detached from reality. The Russian regime has also blocked social media channels of communication to try and shut out the truth.

And yet, there is resistance. And yet, there are protests. And yet, there are grieving parents of dead Russian soldiers and grieving Russian friends and relatives of dead Ukrainians who know the truth.

In Edinburgh, I’ve met Ukraine’s acting Consul General and local community leaders to pledge our support. I’ve pulled together key partners in the city, including third sector, Police Scotland and the universities to work together on a citywide response.

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A Ukrainian soldier gives a V-for-Victory sign not far from the frontline with Vladimir Putin's forces near Kyiv (Picture: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images)

I’ll be taking a motion to our last council meeting prior to the election to ask councillors to approve emergency funding and additional actions to isolate the Russian regime and coordinate humanitarian support for Ukraine.

There must be a cost for Putin’s illegal war. We will ban all Russian cultural events and performances until further notice, with the tour of the Russian Philharmonic of Novosibirsk, which was scheduled for the Usher Hall in May, and the Russian State Ballet’s Swan Lake performance already cancelled.

The Russian Consulate is no longer welcome in Edinburgh. Russian propaganda is not welcome in our Capital, and it is being so easily dismantled by our own free press alongside the harrowing images of Russian murders being committed in Kharkov and Kyiv.

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It’s so heartening to see the response of people across Edinburgh to this war. The Ukrainian Catholic Church on Dalmeny Street has been inundated with offers of help, but they need more.

That’s why it’s so important that we work together as a city to coordinate support as best we can, and support anyone from Ukraine who ends up finding safety in Edinburgh. We know people fleeing Ukraine do not want to leave. They want to stay in their homes and those fleeing overwhelmingly want to return as soon as they can.

As council leader, I’ll be adding Edinburgh’s voice to others calling for visas for all those seeking refuge and I’ll be doing all I can to support our Ukrainian friends until the illegal aggression of Russia stops and people can return to the homes they love.

While Edinburgh’s political parties disagree on many things, we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Ukrainian people in fighting this oppressive Russian regime and we will do everything we can to support Ukraine.

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On this, party politics don’t exist: we are all democrats standing with our Ukrainian friends and standing against Putin’s tyranny.

Adam McVey is leader of Edinburgh Council’s SNP group

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