RUSSIA'S man in Edinburgh should be expelled from the UK, Scottish External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson has said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already demanded the Home Office lift visa requirements on those arriving from Ukraine, as she pledged that the Scottish Government "stands ready to help and play our full part in resettlement effort".

And the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford has written to the Prime Minister to ask him to "kick out" London-based Russian ambassador Andrey Kelin.

Robertson told BBC Scotland's The Sunday Show that this should extend further, saying: "The idea that we should have Russian diplomats in the UK supporting the Kremlin lies about the war in Ukraine is intolerable.

"This is not normal circumstances, this is not a time for normal diplomatic relations.

"The thing [Vladimir] Putin understands is power and the thing Putin understands is people acting and reacting to what it is he is doing.

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"So not only should the Russian ambassador be sent back to Russia to explain the UK is not prepared to put up with what is going on, but we have Russian diplomats based in Scotland and we have to ask ourselves, 'why are these people here in support of Putin's war in Ukraine?'. It is intolerable."

He went on: "This is a full-scale war and we have to decide whether we are going to do everything we can within our power."

The Edinburgh office of the Consul General for the Russian Federation has been the site of anti-war protests since the invasion of Ukraine began.

The National: Scottish Parliament election count at the Emirates arena, Glasgow. Labour's Paul Sweeney who has become a Labour MSP on the Glasgow list

  Photograph by Colin Mearns
7 May 2021

Labour MSP Paul Sweeney (above) has tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament calling for the expulsion of diplomat Andrey Yakovlev from the city.

The motion also offers "solidarity to the people of Ukraine" and calls for the Scottish Government to urgently carry out a "comprehensive audit" to identify "any potentially corrupt Russian ownership of companies, land and associated property assets in Scotland" and supports "fast-track legislative measures" to allow for seizures of assets.

Sweeney, who represents Glasgow, asked followers on social media to request that their MSPs sign the motion, saying: "It's important we have all-party support for these practical actions at all levels of government that degrade and deny Russia's ability to wage this aggressive war against Ukraine."

His party colleague Monica Lennon has announced that she's given her backing.

The UK, the US, Canada and the European Union have already announced that selected Russian banks will be excluded from the Swift global payments system.

They also said they will be imposing "restrictive measures" to prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of sanctions.

Speaking to the BBC, Robertson said: "Unfortunately, we're past the stage of deterrence with President Putin.

"What we need to do is make sure we apply maximum pressure on the Russian government so there is a price to pay for continuing with this aggressive military campaign in Ukraine."

He continued: "War is even more costly, so let's do what we can to help President Putin understand he cannot go on with this military aggression.

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"Our friends in Ukraine need to know we will do everything in our means to help them, in terms of humanitarian aid, military support and in supporting those who are seeking refuge elsewhere in Europe.

"Sanctions need to be tightened this week, governments need to speak to one another, there is always more we can do."

Discussions are underway between the Scottish Government and UK authorities about whether the oil tanker NS Champion, owned by the Russian government's Sovcomflot, should be allowed to dock in UK waters. It is expected to arrive at the Flotta oil terminal in Orkney on Tuesday, with Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for the islands, having raised concerns about this with Johnson.

Robertson said: "This is a very good example of an area where we are going to have to act decisively, in my view, because we cannot carry on as if nothing is happening on the far side of Europe."