Move to grant freedom of Edinburgh to Ukrainian President Zelensky

He would be bestowed the honour in recognition of their 'leadership and heroism',

Move to grant freedom of Edinburgh to Ukraine President Voldymyr Zelensky and Vitali Klitschko STV News

Edinburgh councillors are considering a proposal to grant the freedom of the city jointly to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko.

A motion calling for the honour to be bestowed on the duo, who have remained in their homeland following the invasion by Russia, has been put before the council.

It sets out the council’s intent to make the symbolic gesture in honour of their “leadership and heroism”

A second motion setting out a number of practical measures to help express solidarity with Ukraine was also published by council leaders.

It expresses the council’s condemnation of the “horrific and illegal attacks” on the independence of Ukraine, as well as commending the bravery of the Ukrainian people for their “heroic defence of their land”.

The motion also sets out a number of practical measures with the council seeking to express its solidarity with Ukraine.

They include the withdrawal of support and coordination with the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh, along with an intention to write to the Russian Ambassador to advise that the Russian Consul is no longer welcome in the city.

It also calls for an expulsion by the Home Office of Russian diplomatic staff from the City of Edinburgh until the troops of Russia vacate Ukraine.

And the motion further seeks a ban on all Russian Government supported arts and cultural performances in venues owned by Edinburgh Council, whilst also encouraging other venues in the city to do the same.

Both motions will be raised by council leader Adam McVey and depute leader Cammy Day next week.

“We all stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people in fighting this oppressive Russian regime and we will do everything we possibly can to support them,” said McVey.

“Following the city summit I hosted with the depute leader last week, with the acting consul general for Ukraine and local community leaders, we are now setting out a series of steps we can take together as a city.

“As part of this, we’re bringing forward motions to ask councillors to stand with us in condemning Putin’s tyranny, and intend to offer the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh to the President of Ukraine and Mayor of Kyiv.

“By remaining in Kyiv, they are fighting side-by-side with their citizens against the Russian invasion, in a true defence of their nation.

“This is not just in recognition of their own leadership and bravery, but the bravery of all Ukrainians battling for their nation.”

McVey explained that the council is looking at how it can help those seeking refuge.

“With members’ agreement, we will write to the Home Office encouraging unrestricted refugee visas and local working to source host families to house refugees, with a focus on those with cultural and language understanding to best support unaccompanied children,” he said.

“The experiences of those fleeing their homes and their country is heart-breaking and we are looking at how we can help those who seek refuge, but we also need the Home Office to outline a plan.”

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