Council demands Russian consul leaves Edinburgh until ‘illegal’ war is halted

Council leader Adam McVey said the consulate is not welcome in the Scottish capital.

08 April 2022

The Russian ambassador to the UK has been told that his country’s consulate is no longer welcome in Edinburgh.

In a strongly-worded letter to Andrei Kelin on Friday, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey told him the consulate is “no longer welcome in Edinburgh until Russia stops this illegal war and Russian troops leave Ukrainian soil”.

The warning comes after the council voted to condemn the war and made the president of Ukraine and mayor of Kyiv freemen of the city last month.

In his letter, Mr McVey said Edinburgh is “not an enemy of the Russian people” and “we recognise the courageous actions across the Russian population who have expressed opposition to this war at great cost to themselves at the hands of their own government in Moscow”.

He added: “We are witnessing the actions of the government you represent and the murder of brave Ukrainian civilians and soldiers – which will be investigated as war crimes in due course.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Street art in support of Ukraine in Leith, Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Our wholehearted sympathy and thoughts are with the Ukrainian people is resisting the Russian government’s illegal and senseless war.

“Until Russia withdraws from Ukraine, I reiterate that we will not be accepting any civic invitations or collaborations of any kind and I ask that you withdraw the consul from our city immediately.

“They are not welcome in Edinburgh.”

When Russia ordered its troops into Ukraine, protesters gathered outside the consulate in Edinburgh’s New Town and chanted “Glory to Ukraine”.

The council has been flying a Ukrainian flag above the City Chambers as a mark of solidarity with the besieged country.

The council said it is also supporting aid efforts to Poland and Ukraine and is helping refugees settle into their new lives, with £100,000 allotted to the cause.

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