A RUSSIAN representative has been dumped from a Burns Supper in a break with tradition in protest over the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian consul-general based in Edinburgh usually joins the SNP branch in Trossachs and Teith in Stirlingshire for their annual celebration of the Scottish Bard.

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But in a move that breaks with the custom of nearly a decade, the local branch has decided to invite the Ukrainian representative in the Scottish capital instead of the Russian Andrey Yakovlev.

The National:

Yakovlev was previously invited to the branch’s Burns Supper and St Andrew’s Day celebrations in recognition of the historic links between Russia and Scotland, said Fergus Wood who organises the night.

He told The National: “It’s all very sad.

“For years, they’ve come and brought bottles of vodka and all that and they’ve been our guests but we’ve had to say this has got to end, sadly.

“This year, the guest speaker proposing a toast to Scotland is a Ukrainian scientist Yuri Zadiraka.”

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They are also hoping the Ukrainian consul-general will attend the event on March 25 at Blair Drummond Hall.

The National:

It is unlikely the Russians will be invited back to the event until President Vladimir Putin’s regime ends, said Wood (above, second from right).

Their presence would “depend entirely on Russia’s policy towards Ukraine”.

He added: “I can’t see anything changing until Putin gets removed. He has a fixation on Ukraine and doesn’t view it as a nation.”

The event will see money raised to go towards humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Russia shares Scotland’s love of Robert Burns with millions of copies of his poems having been sold in the country – in part due to the Soviet Union’s championing of the Ayrshire bard’s verse during the 20th century.

The country also shares the same patron saint as Scotland and the Russian Navy’s ensign is an inverted Scottish flag because both represent St Andrew’s cross.

St Andrew is also the patron saint of Ukraine and Greece.

The Ukrainian Consulate in Edinburgh confirmed they had received an invitation to the SNP event but did not say whether the consul-general would attend.