HUMZA Yousaf has taken part in a wreath-laying ceremony in Edinburgh to commemorate Ukraine’s Independence Day.

The First Minster joined officials in a ceremony at Edinburgh City Chambers, to pay tribute to the memory of those who have sacrificed their lives for Ukraine.

In a speech released online, Yousaf said Scotland “stands in absolute solidarity with Ukraine” and welcomed the more than 25,000 Ukrainians offered sanctuary in Scotland since the illegal Russian invasion in February 2022.

He said: “We will do everything we can to support you so that you have a home in Scotland for as long as you need it. And we are grateful for the contribution you are making to communities across the country.

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“It is vital that countries across Europe, and around the world, help you to achieve victory – and then to rebuild your country.”

The First Minister ended his speech promising that “Scotland will continue to stand with Ukraine - as you fight for your future as a free, independent, European nation.”

The Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR, the then Ukrainian parliament, declared itself independent from the laws of the USSR on August 24, 1991; a declaration that paved the way toward an independent Ukrainian state.

The declaration was affirmed on December 1, 1991 when a country-wide independence referendum showed 92.3% of Ukrainians favoured the establishment of an independent Ukraine.

Yousaf’s congratulations and affirmation of support for Ukraine joined the calls of other international figures such as the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

Blinken said: “I want to congratulate all Ukrainians on their Independence Day. August 24th is a testament to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and democracy and a day of pride in Ukraine’s strength and resilience. It is also a day of celebration of Ukrainian heritage and culture.

“The United States will continue to stand with you and work with our Allies and partners to ensure Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself, to recover, and to thrive.”

The National:

At an award ceremony in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, said: “Today we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of our independence — the independence of Ukraine.

“This is a value for each of us. And this is what we are fighting for, and everyone is important in this fight because this is a fight for something that is important to everyone. An independent Ukraine.”