Announcing his invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin warned that anyone who attempts to stand in Russia’s way would suffer “such consequences that you have never encountered in your history”. Just days later, the President ordered his military to put Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert. Rising fears of a World War 3 – one which threatens to feature the use of nuclear weapons – has pushed many world leaders into doubling down on the need to show off their deterrence capabilities. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was quick to respond to Putin that “the Atlantic alliance [NATO] is a nuclear alliance”. For Ian Blackford, however, the rise in global tensions appears only to have reconfirmed his commitment to removing Trident.
The SNP Westminster leader said his position had not changed because he doesn’t believe Trident deters escalation in the first place.
He said: “The idea that having nuclear weapons provides a deterrence that removes that threat is far-fetched, to say the least.”
Mr Blackford added even a Scotland outside the UK would continue to rely on world organisations with nuclear capabilities, including NATO.
He said: “One of the wrong assumptions that [some] make is that Scotland would be standing alone [out of the UK].
“Scotland wouldn’t be standing alone.
“The SNP Scottish Government is very clear that an independent Scotland, among other things, would seek to be a member of NATO.
“We would be alongside our friends or partners in the Western world, and we would want to make sure that we’re taking our responsibilities for defence and security just as any other independent country does.”
Critics have suggested current events in the East make the argument of scrapping Trident, Britain’s nuclear programme, increasingly less attractive.
READ MORE: Putin fearing Russia backlash: ‘Riot police everywhere!’
“Ian Blackford wants to unilaterally do the same with the British nuclear deterrent based at Faslane.
“If Ukraine had nuclear weapons, Russia would not now be attacking it.”
Crucially, Ms Deans added: “The same logic obviously applies to Scotland’s security.”
There is also the question of whether an independent Scotland would even be allowed to join NATO.
But on this point, Mr Blackford believes the SNP is on to a winner.
He said: “I think NATO made it clear that it seeks to work with those that apply for membership.”
Mr Blackford added he thinks Scotland would get in “given our strategic importance and our desire to be a constructive voice within the family of nations of NATO”.