Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has met with Ukrainian politician Kira Rudik in Edinburgh.
The SNP leader met with Rudik, the leader of Ukraine’s liberal Golos party, at the Scottish Parliament.
They discussed Russia’s illegal invasion of the country, as well as Scotland’s support for Ukrainians.
It also marked the first public appearance that Sturgeon has made since recovering from Covid-19.
In a photo-call on Wednesday morning, the pair also spoke ahead of Scotland’s World Cup qualifying match against Ukraine at Hampden.
And Rudik said that she is “extremely grateful” for the support and solidarity shown to Ukrainians by Scottish people.
“I will be there tonight supporting Scotland, I want Scotland to win, I want Scotland to go to the World Cup,” said Scotland’s First Minister, with the match taking place on Wednesday evening in Glasgow.
“But I think it will be a really emotional occasion and I think a bit of everybody’s heart tonight, no matter how strongly we might be supporting Scotland, will be with Ukraine.
“So, I hope Scotland qualifies, but I tell you something, if Scotland doesn’t qualify for the World Cup and Ukraine does qualify, I’ll be supporting Ukraine at the World Cup.”
Rudik said the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem by Scotland fans in an act of solidarity as the sides line up at Hampden also reminds her of when the anthem was sung at her nation’s parliament during the early stages of the war.
She said: “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the game tonight, though for the last two days I have been in Scotland, everybody has been talking about that.
“And I am very jealous of the people who will be able to attend and watch it, especially when the national anthem is sang because I know it’s the most emotional and supportive piece of the game.
“That reminds me of when the war started and we as parliamentarians gathered in the Ukrainian Parliament just two hours after the war started.
“And we were having our first sitting and we were singing the national anthem there just to support each other and just not to be so scared.
“So, I do believe that today there will be this bonding and a support of unimaginable protection and solidarity that we are receiving from Scottish people for which I am extremely grateful from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all Ukrainians.”
Sturgeon added: “I think the singing of the national anthem will be an emotional moment for everybody in Hampden this evening.”