Salmond ‘horrified Britain with Putin comments’

ALEX Salmond has been accused of making a “gross error of judgment in international relations” by paying tribute to Russia.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Picture: GettyRussia's President Vladimir Putin. Picture: Getty
Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Picture: Getty

Mr Salmond said in a magazine interview that he admired “certain aspects” of president Vladimir Putin, including how he had restored part of Russian pride, although he added he did not approve of a range of Russian actions.

He made the comments on 14 March as Russia was being accused of military aggression over the future of Crimea, which it has since annexed, in neighbouring Ukraine.

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Pressed on whether he admired the Russian leader, the First Minister said: “Certain aspects. He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing.”

Speaking in the Commons, Labour’s Glasgow North East MP William Bain told Mr Hague: “My constituents will be horrified at the recent comments made by Scotland’s First Minister. Do you agree Alex Salmond did not speak for Scotland on Kosovo and does not speak for the people of Scotland now when he claims that rising Russian nationalism is a force for good in the world?” Mr Hague replied: “Yes, absolutely. I think people throughout Scotland and indeed the whole of the United Kingdom will be horrified by these comments.

“Even as Russia was annexing by force the Crimea, to pay tribute to the restoration of pride in Russia is a gross error of judgment in international relations and very concerning in the attitude of the Scottish National Party.”