ALEX Salmond has accused the Scottish Tories of hypocrisy after they called on the SNP to boycott two Kremlin-backed news channels – just a day after a Conservative MP appeared on one of them.

According to research carried out by the Tories and published in The Herald, the SNP have made nearly 50 appearances on Russia Today and Sputnik, with Former First Minister Alex Salmond accounting for more than one-third of these.

However, a spokesman for Salmond pointed out that just two days ago Gerald Howarth, a Tory MP and former minister, appeared on Russia Today.

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SNP MP Paul Monaghan has made at least seven appearances on Sputnik, which now has an Edinburgh base, and has called both channels impartial.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser told The Herald: “These outfits are amateurish, run by people with zero journalistic training or credibility, and it’s embarrassing that the SNP is so eager to pander to them. It’s utterly hypocritical, and will no doubt cause huge embarrassment to more reasonable elements of the party.

“As long as the SNP are putting up people for these dangerous and discredited outfits, it has a cheek to complain of any sort of media bias.”

A spokesperson for Salmond replied: “Looks like the Tories have been caught red-handed. Their idea of a boycott is actually a Tory party monopoly of the airwaves. The reality is that they have made a ham-fisted attempt at McCarthyism, leaving them in a position of total hypocrisy.

“The fact that they used Murdo Fraser, an MSP whose idea of international policy was to brand Nelson Mandela a terrorist, indicates the depth to which they can sink.

“The days of silence from Mr Fraser are long overdue. With any luck, he will decide to boycott all television channels.”

Russia Today was founded in 2005, and has been broadcasting a UK news service for the last three years. It was conceived as a “soft-power tool” to counter what the Kremlin believed was anti-Russian bias.

Salmond’s fellow MP Martin Docherty last year warned that it and Sputnik were outlets of a regime which “most certainly would not tolerate a nationalist movement like our own within its own borders”.

As well as spending hundreds of millions on state media, Russia funds troll factories that flood social media with anti-Western diatribes.

Sputnik launched an Edinburgh station last year, with Oxana Brazhnik – previously political adviser to Putin’s deputy chief of staff, Vyacheslav Volodin – as its chief. The station broadcasts a daily news programme, World in Focus, presented by pro-independence campaigners Carolyn Scott and Jack Foster.