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by Kirsteen Paterson
10 March 2022
Council awards Volodymyr Zelensky the Freedom of the Highlands

Zelensky visits soldiers on the frontline in Kyiv

Council awards Volodymyr Zelensky the Freedom of the Highlands

The local authority will also withdraw its pensions from Russian-owned firms

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has been awarded the Freedom of the Highlands as the local authority pulls its pensions from Russian funds. 

Members of The Highland Council today held an emergency debate to discuss measures to support the Ukrainian people. 

These will include staging a weekend of action to promote fundraising for relief efforts during the first weekend of school holidays, from 1-3 April, as well as payroll deductions for staff who wish to make regular donations. The local authority will work with the Disasters Emergency Committee, Unicef, Sciaf and Blythswood charities. 

Members also agreed to “engage to help develop” the government sponsorship scheme proposed for refugees. 

And there was unanimous approval for a motion put forwards by councillors Derek Louden and Bill Lobban, which called on the council to “recognise the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people by granting the Freedom of the Highlands to the President of Ukraine”. 

An emergency meeting will take place tomorrow over the withdrawal of the local authority’s pension fund from all Russian-owned firms. 

Cllr Lobban, convenor of The Highland Council, said: “The Members of The Highland Council have made clear their full support for the people of Ukraine who are valiantly fending off this unwarranted Russian invasion. We will continue to do whatever we can to support the innocent people who are caught up in Putin’s horrendous war both those remaining in Ukraine and those who have been forced to flee for their lives.” 

The disinvestment decision follows others from Scottish public sector institutions, including the Scottish Parliament. 

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