NICOLA Sturgeon has rejected claims that ramping up Scotland’s oil and production is the way to “deal a blow” to Vladimir Putin.

The First Minister was urged by Douglas Ross to increase Scotland’s North Sea operations and invest in nuclear energy as the war in Ukraine disrupts the supply of Russian fossil fuels to Europe.

But she said that proposal was “not credible”, stating the long-term solution is to develop the country’s renewable energy sources.

Homes in Scotland and across the UK face soaring energy bills as the price of gas rockets further due to the crisis in Ukraine, and countries move to cut out Russian gas from their supplies.

Both leaders began FMQs by paying tribute to the victims of Russia’s attack on a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which killed three people, including a child. Ross branded the shelling “despicable” while Sturgeon said: “Vladimir Putin is committing crimes against international law, crimes against humanity, he is committing war crimes."

Starting his questioning, Ross pointed to comments from former SNP energy minister Fergus Ewing, who has said “in principle” Scotland needs “all the oil and gas production that we can get”.

He agreed with those remarks and said Scotland has the resources to “protect our own supply and even export to other countries to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas”.

Sturgeon pointed out that just 3% of Scotland’s gas and 8% of oil and petroleum come from Russia and said increasing oil and gas production in Scotland in the short-term was not a feasible solution.

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She told MSPs: “The reality is, and in fact I've heard UK ministers make this point as well as the European Commission … medium to longer-term, the action the world needs to take to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels is exactly the same action the world needs to take to address the climate emergency.

“We must accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable and low carbon energy and that's what the Scottish Government remains focused on.”

Ross was not content with Sturgeon’s answer, again pushing the FM to commit to oil and gas expansion.

He said: "The First Minister’s position doesn’t recognise the new reality. Russia’s war has changed the situation. Scotland can deal a blow to Vladimir Putin by increasing domestic oil and gas production.

“This isn’t the time to be ideological. It’s the time to be practical and realistic.”

Sturgeon said it was her government that was being practical, pointing out that the Cambo oil field, for instance, couldn’t be operational until 2026 at the earliest. She said nuclear projects would take even longer.

The SNP leader also called on Rishi Sunak to help protect consumers from energy price increases, urging him to reduce VAT charges.

“What we must see in terms of rises in global prices is action from the Chancellor – substantial and significant action from the Chancellor – to shield households across the UK,” she told MSPs.