“No longer welcome in Edinburgh”: Council sends clear message to Russian Ambassador

Ukraine flag with the text "We stand with Ukraine" in it.

The Council Leader has today written to the Russian Ambassador in London to state that Russia’s Consulate is no longer welcome in Scotland’s Capital city.

In line with the decision made by Council on 17 March, the strongly worded letter to Mr Andrei Kelin says the City of Edinburgh Council has severed all existing and future engagements with the Russian Consulate, until Russia withdraws from Ukraine. In it, the Leader clarifies that this move is a measure against Russia’s war and it’s ruler – and does not oppose Russian citizens, many of whom have expressed opposition to their country’s territorial policies.

Commenting, Council Leader Adam McVey said:

“Countless Russians around the world and here in Edinburgh have spoken out against this war – but it isn’t these courageous people of conscience the Russian Consulate or Russian Ambassador stand for. Their offices represent Putin’s tyrannical regime and the horrific war crimes being made against Ukraine.

“Our ties will be severed for as long as this illegal invasion persists and our solidarity will remain with the people of Ukraine, many of whom have fled their home country to seek refuge here in Edinburgh. We will continue to do everything within our power to ensure they feel safe, heard and welcome in our city from the moment they land.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day added:

“As a city, we condemn the actions of Putin’s regime and all those who support it by remaining silent. This includes the Russian Consulate and Russian Ambassador, which are no longer welcome in Edinburgh, and I hope this letter spells out our stance loud and clear.

“It’s one of many symbolic actions we are taking against Russia’s war on Ukraine, alongside giving the Freedom of the City to Ukraine’s heroic political leaders Volodymyr Zelensky and Vitali Klitschko, flying the Ukrainian flag above the City Chambers and lighting up the Granton gasholder blue and yellow. Our most vital work, however, is taking place on the ground. We’re supporting aid efforts to Poland and Ukraine and helping refugees settle into new lives. We are working closely with partners across all sectors on this and have allocated £100,000 of Council funding to support it.”

Read the letter in full below.

Dear Mr Andrei Kelin,
At the City of Edinburgh Full Council meeting on March 17th 2022, Councillors from all parties voted unanimously to condemn the brutal war perpetuated by Russia and made clear that the Russian Consulate is no longer welcome in Edinburgh until Russia stops this illegal war and Russian troops leave Ukrainian soil. The Council also agreed to sever all existing and future engagements with the Russian Consul.
We are joining many others in opposing this Russian invasion and the murder of innocent Ukrainians. However, even as those measures are taken, we make clear that our city is not an enemy of the Russian people, we recognise the courageous actions across the Russian population who have expressed opposition to this war at great cost to themselves at the hands of their own Government in Moscow.
We are witnessing the actions of the Government you represent, and the murder of brave Ukrainian civilians and soldiers- which will be investigated as war crimes in due course. Our wholehearted sympathy and thoughts are with the Ukrainian people is resisting the Russian Government’s illegal and senseless war.
Until Russia withdraws from Ukraine, I reiterate that we will not be accepting any civic invitations or collaborations of any kind and I ask that you withdraw the Consul from our City immediately- they are not welcome in Edinburgh.
Yours sincerely,
Cllr Adam McVey
Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council

Published: April 8th 2022