Alex Cole-Hamilton is calling for an Edinburgh street to be renamed in honour of the president of Ukraine amid the ongoing crisis in the country.
The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has written to Edinburgh City Council urging them to back the plans in a bid to “shame” Vladimir Putin over the Russian invasion.
He has asked the local authority to rename Melville Street, where the Russian consulate is located, to Zelensky Street in tribute to Voldymyr Zelensky.
Cole-Hamilton, who is also an MSP for Edinburgh West, says the new name would be in solidarity with the Ukranian people and mirror the kind of protests used against South African embassies during the apartheid regime.
The suggestion comes as Ukraine continues to come under attack from Russia following last month’s invasion.
Zelensky, a former actor and comedian who has been president of his country in 2019, rose to global prominence following the invasion as he led the fight-back against Russian aggression.
His leadership during the crisis has led to him being described as the “symbol of Ukrainian resistance”.
Cole-Hamilton, who has been Scottish Lib Dem leader since last year, said the move would be a “small act but an important one” and urged the UK to “shame” the Russia leader at “every possible opportunity”.
He said: “Britain must shame Putin at every possible opportunity. Everyone visiting or writing to the consulate should be reminded of Putin’s murderous and destructive invasion of Ukraine.
“This small but meaningful gesture would match the outpouring of support from Kyiv’s twin city Edinburgh. It mirrors the kind of protest that was used against South African embassies during Apartheid, and speaks to the proud tradition of solidarity shown by scots to oppressed and persecuted people the world over.
“Edinburgh has responded with horror and compassion to the images coming out of Ukraine. The offers to house those fleeing the horror of war in Capital homes has been truly inspiring. This would be a further beacon of solidarity for the people of Ukraine.
“At every level of government, we must do more to help those affected by the invasion. The UK Government must immediately waive visa requirements for refugees, the Scottish Government must do more to identify Russian land interests and the city can play its part in readying itself for refugees and in small acts of defiance to Russian aggression like this.”
Revealing the request on Twitter on Wednesday, he said: “I have today written to Adam McVey, as leader of the city, asking that the council follow capitals in other free democracies and change the name of Melville Street, where the Russian consulate is based, to Zelensky Street.”
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