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Nicola Sturgeon: Ukraine war makes Scottish independence push ‘more important’

Nicola Sturgeon.
Nicola Sturgeon.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine does not undermine the SNP’s drive for an independence referendum in 2023, according to Nicola Sturgeon.

The first minister claimed leaving the UK would help Scotland play a “full part” in the world during an interview with Associated Press on her tour of the United States.

Unionist rivals have repeatedly said Scottish independence would undermine and weaken Britain while tensions are heated in Europe.

But Ms Sturgeon said independence is an “internationalist project” as she pushes for a vote sometime next year.

The SNP leader points to election results as clear evidence for a mandate to hold a rerun of the 2014 referendum.

But Boris Johnson and senior Westminster Tories say they will not grant legal permission.

‘Firm mandate’

Ms Sturgeon said: “I was re-elected as FM about this time last year, and was re-elected on a very firm mandate to offer people that choice.

“We are currently working on plans for that, both around process, but more importantly perhaps on the substance.

“The world’s changed quite markedly in many respects since 2014, so making sure that we put forward the prospectus, the case for independence that takes account for those changes is important.

“I believe that with all the challenges you’re rightly raising there it’s all the more important that Scotland plays its full part in trying to be a constructive voice in the world.

The war in Ukraine continues.

“At its heart the Scottish independence movement is an internationalist project. It’s not about turning away from the world, it’s not about separation.”

It comes after the SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford hinted in March the party could potentially delay IndyRef2 due to the Ukraine crisis.,

But Ms Sturgeon later said there was “no connection” between the campaign to leave the UK and the eastern European conflict.

The first minister reiterated her belief that an independent Scotland should join Nato despite being opposed to nuclear weapons.

The SNP reversed their historic opposition to the military alliance in 2012.

However, Ms Sturgeon’s stance puts her at odds with her Green government partners, who are against Nato membership.

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