• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Salmond stands firm over Putin remarks

ALEX Salmond has defended praising "certain aspects" of Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership, insisting his comments were "balanced and reasonable".

The First Minister hit back ­personally for the first time yesterday as the row deepened.

Prime Minister David Cameron accused the First Minister of "a major error of judgment" while Chief ­Secretary to the Treasury Danny ­Alexander said the comments were "extraordinary and disgraceful".

Mr Salmond, who was interviewed for GQ magazine as Russia prepared to annex Crimea, praised Mr Putin for restoring "a substantial amount of Russian pride" but added he did not approve of a range of Russian actions.

His comments have been condemned by human rights group and Scots-based Ukrainians.

At the launch yesterday of the SNP's European election campaign in ­Penicuik, Midlothian, Mr Salmond rejected their calls for an apology.

He said: "People will see the comments I made are perfectly ­reasonable, that I deprecated Russian actions in Ukraine and also its human rights record.

"I pointed out that the Western press had under­estimated Putin. I think that's obviously true.

"When I was talking about the pride issue, it was in the aftermath of the Sochi Olympics, which was obviously a restoration of Russian pride. That was when the interview was conducted. These were reasonable, balanced remarks."

Mr Cameron said: "I think what Alex Salmond said was a major error of judgment.

"I think all of us in this House should be supporting the Ukrainian desire to be a sovereign, independent country and to have the respect of the international community and party leaders for that ambition."

Mr Alexander also raised questions about Mr Salmond's judgment, adding: "If Alex Salmond had been the leader of an EU member state and had made the comments they would be at odds with the views expressed by every other European government.".

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

230282