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Ukrainians attack Salmond for Putin letter

Ukrainians in Scotland have criticised Alex Salmond for failing to apologise for comments apparently praising Russian president Vladimir Putin.

They also accuse the First Minister of further insulting them when he wrote to their leaders over the row, by referring to "the Ukraine" and not "Ukraine".

Community leader Michael Ostapko denounced Mr Salmond's choice of words as an "offensive description" of the country.

In the letter, Mr Salmond condemned "the illegal annexation of the Crimea".

He insisted some of his comments on Mr Putin, reported in GQ magazine, were taken out of context , saying: "I disapprove of a range of Russian actions … I have had no hesitation in condemning Russia's activities in the Ukraine, the illegal annexation of the Crimea and its continued support for armed militia."

Mr Ostapko said: "We asked that he make an unequivocal public apology. He has not done so.

"Instead we received a standard, somewhat tardy explanation strewn with political party rhetoric and little on the only matter we raised from his GQ ­interview; the praise of Putin, the architect of the dismantling of a nation, Ukraine (not the Ukraine, an offensive description to Ukrainians)."

Mr Ostapko also said he had questions about actions Mr Salmond said the Scottish Government has taken in relation to the Ukrainian situation.

Mr Salmond gave GQ the interview seven weeks ago, as Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border, and was quoted as saying it was good Mr Putin had helped give the Russian people back national pride.

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Local government

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