Backlash on social media forced Nicola Sturgeon to remove a post about “eliminated” Russian soldiers
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has deleted her tweet about “eliminated” Russian soldiers in Ukraine after accusations of “glorifying war”.
On Tuesday, Sturgeon retweeted a Ukrainian Defense Ministry post. It claimed that the “total combat losses of the enemy” included “41,170 of eliminated personnel.”
As the Ukrainian military’s post had a quote from Scottish poet Robert Burns’ ‘Scots Wha Hae’, once considered as Scotland’s unofficial national anthem, Sturgeon added a hashtag ‘robertburns’ to the post, along with ‘#solidarity’ and a Ukrainian flag.
“The First Minister of Scotland should not be glorifying war,” Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba tweeted, adding that it is possible to oppose it without “celebrating” the deaths of people and that Sturgeon should delete the post and apologize for it.
Another user wondered on Twitter how the Scottish minister can “glorify the deaths” of Russian soldiers, who are “someone’s sons, brothers, fathers.”
Following the wave of negative comments on social media, the first minister removed the post, but it hasn’t stopped the flow of criticism.
Villalba noted that there still “has been no explanation or apology” from Sturgeon and urged the first minister to “make it clear that celebrating lives lost to war is both reckless and wrong.”
Another Twitter user called Sturgeon’s tweet “deeply disgraceful” and said that “despite its removal, this says so much about her Western militarist mindset.”
Some commenters went even further, calling on Sturgeon to “resign immediately” over her “disgusting” comment. “She calls them ‘enemy’ are we at war?” one of the posts said.
Moscow has not updated the numbers of its troop losses since March, when it reported 1,351 military personnel killed. In June, the head of the Russian Duma’s Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, claimed that, due to changes in military strategy, the Russian Army has “practically ceased to lose people.”
Kiev has not disclosed its total military losses either but claims that the figure is several times lower than Russia’s.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.