ALEX Salmond has said he feels no “regret, guilt or shame” about working for a Kremlin-backed TV channel in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Despite widespread criticism of his decision from the moment he took it in 2017, the Alba leader insisted it had been “entirely reasonable”.

The former First Minister struck a defiant tone as he was questioned about his four-year relationship with the banned broadcaster RT at an Alba party event in Dundee.

Launching the Alba manifesto for next month’s local election, he also denied his past conduct around women would undermine his party’s campaign.

After Russia invaded its democratic neighbour in February, Mr Salmond suspended his weekly show on RT “until peace is re-established”.

An EU ban removed the channel from all UK platforms on March 3, and on March 18 the broadcasting regulator Ofcom revoked its licence with immediate effect.

Its senior staff are now cheerleaders for Russia’s military action in Ukraine.

Asked if he felt any “regret, guilt or shame” about his years appearing on RT, Mr Salmond said: “Well, no, because I don't accept the suggestion that making an independently produced television programme, broadcast on an Ofcom-regulated station, implies support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“Aba condemned, through [MP] Neil Hanvey and the parliament, that action on the day of the invasion. I've opposed illegal invasions for the last 30 years, and this one I’ll treat no differently. 

“It’s an illegal invasion. It has to be opposed. The people of Ukraine have to be supported and the invasion, Russia’s actions, should be condemned. 

“As far as the programme is concerned, I suspended it on the day of the admission, and on March 5, I indicated publicly that that decision was final. 

“So no, I think the decision to broadcast was [an] entirely reasonable one, given the circumstances and my decision with [co-host and producer ] Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh to  suspend the programme was also the correct one under the circumstances of war.”

He went on: “I support the sanctions being imposed on Russia and individuals in Russia. 

“I also support the referral to the international criminal court…  and also the examination of the atrocities that are being conducted in Ukraine, I support that.

“But I also support a drive for peace. They’re probably into the tens of thousands of casualties on both sides of the conflict, including thousands of civilians. 

“The greatest danger of all is for this to draw on to a long stalemate conflict where many, many more people die, and therefore the more urgency there is into a negotiated settlement, the better. All wars end in negotiations and settlement. 

“The task here is to make sure that happens before the tens of thousands equate to the 400,000 who died in the Yemen, the 200,000 who died in Afghanistan or the 500,000 who died in Iraq. All the result of long drawn-out conflicts. Occupations never work. Illegal invasions never work, and the sooner this can be brought to an end the better.”

Asked if he would ever return to the channel if it was allowed to broadcast again in the UK, Mr Salmond said he would not.  

Pressed on whether he had even a niggling doubt about what he had done by working for RT, he said: “I think most people would regard an independent Scottish production company producing a programme independently and it being broadcast on an Ofcom regulated and approved channel, not as akin to implying support for Russia’s action in invading Ukraine.”

Earlier, members of the 100-strong audience at the Caird Hall booed and jeered a reporter from the pro-independence National newspaper who reminded Mr Salmond he had been called an “insecure creep” by one of the defence witnesses at his 2020 trial.

Asked if voters could take Alba’s emphasis on women’s rights seriously given Mr Salmond’s history, he deflected by saying the issue was serious and Alba was treating it as such by recommending a CItizen’s Assembly to consider gender reforms.