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‘No credible off-ramp for Putin’, says Ross as he warns of long war

The Scottish Conservative leader was speaking on the final day of his party’s conference in Aberdeen.

19 March 2022

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said he has not seen a “credible off-ramp” for Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, as he warned of the possibility of a long war.

Speaking to journalists after his speech before his party’s conference in Aberdeen, Mr Ross said it is hard to see a negotiated settlement the Russian president could count as a “win”.

Mr Ross and Prime Minister Boris Johnson met on Friday with Zhenya Dove, a Ukrainian woman who has been living in Scotland for eight years.

Ms Dove was given a standing ovation when she addressed the conference on Friday ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Ross said: “This conflict, sadly, (is) going to go on for a long time because there’s a lot of talk about negotiations and such like but I haven’t yet seen a credible off-ramp for Putin.

“How does he come out with this in any negotiated settlement with a win in his eyes or, as he would perceive it, for the Russians?

“So my point is, I don’t think anyone can really say that we’re going to be through this conflict in months or years.”

In his keynote speech to the conference, Mr Ross praised the resilience of the Ukrainian people, and stressed the importance of the UK helping to rebuild the country when the conflict ends.

“The Ukrainian people have found themselves victims of an irredentist dictatorship with a warped view of the world,” he said.

Douglas Ross and Zhenya Dove on stage at Scottish Tory conference in front of a Ukrainian flag that says
Douglas Ross and Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian Zhenya Dove on Friday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“But they are fighting back. They have ground Putin’s war machine to a halt.

“Those brave Ukrainians are refusing to give in, against all expectations.

“We must continue to give them the support they need to defend their country.

“We must be generous to those who come here looking for sanctuary.

“And when this is over, we must help the people of Ukraine to rebuild their country.”

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