Stewart Malcolm McDonald – 2022 Speech on Ukraine

The speech made by Stewart Malcolm McDonald, the SNP MP for Glasgow South, in the House of Commons on 25 February 2022.

I am grateful to the Minister, and indeed to his colleague in the Foreign Office, for the work that they are doing and the updates that they have been ensuring Opposition Members have. Like the Minister and other Members, I wish only to heap praise on the Ukrainian armed forces, who ensured that Russia did not get the opening gambit that it thought it would. But, as the Minister says, we are seeing Russian men being sent to die for one man’s hubris—and my goodness, what courage was shown on the streets of Russia last night by people protesting against the aggression from the Kremlin, and we commend them for it.

The Minister rightly spoke of supporting Ukraine with military equipment, and we back the Government in that. It is obviously, in some cases, easier said than done—it requires training, logistics and all the rest—but the Ukraine Government need it. I am not going to ask the Minister for an assurance that he has already given, but I want to press him in saying that we on these Benches want to see Ukraine get all the equipment it needs. I know that the Minister does not want to go into specific areas of equipment, but satellite phones are badly needed. That issue has arisen quite often during the various conversations that I have had with Government and parliamentary officials in Ukraine, and even came up at the protest outside Downing Street last night.

May I ask whether consideration has been given by the Government, and by G7 allies, to cyber-support, particularly cyber-offensive support? I can see the expression on the Minister’s face, but would that constitute an article 5 scenario or not? What do the Government understand it to be? May I also ask the Government to ensure that they provide the appropriate level of humanitarian and medical equipment support that the Ukraine Government need?

Finally—I hope the Minister will forgive me, but I have not heard him mention this yet; it is not necessarily an MOD issue—may I ask for an update on where we are with SWIFT? Members had hoped that progress would have been made with that by now. I know that the Foreign Office has been pressing hard on it, but an update would be useful.