SCOTLAND’S First Minister used an appearance at a Welsh book festival to sum up why a common anti-independence argument is inaccurate.

Speaking with the BBC’s Katya Adler at Wales's Hay Festival this weekend, Nicola Sturgeon responded to the argument that the war in Ukraine means it’s the wrong time for independence.

The SNP chief has pledged to hold indyref2 by 2023, with £20 million set aside by her government in the recent spending review to allow that vote to go ahead.

A recent poll found that, before campaigning has even started, the Yes side is already on 50%.

Adler, the BBC’s Europe editor, pushed Sturgeon to explain why independence is not about turning away from co-operation with other nations.

“We’ve got war back on the continent here, is this not a time to stick together if you believe in principles … is this a time to fracture and splinter?” the journalist asked Sturgeon.

The First Minister responded: “That’s not what independence is. It’s not about separating ourselves, it’s not about turning away from the rest of the UK or Europe or the world.

“It’s about self-government. It’s about the root to Scotland playing a bigger, more constructive part in the world and defending those values of liberal democracy which really need defending right now. Independence is an internationalist project, it’s about looking outward.

“The thing that has separated Scotland in recent years that has turned Scotland completely against our will inwards is Brexit, we’ve been taken out of the European Union.”

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Sturgeon then received applause from the audience.

Scotland’s leader has also been in London this weekend as the First Ministers of each devolved nation appear at the official Jubilee celebrations.

She attended the thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday before heading to the Platinum Party at the Palace with her husband Peter Murrell.

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Over the weekend she has reaffirmed her commitment to retaining the monarchy in an independent Scotland.

Sturgeon said she wanted the Queen and her successors to remain as head of state when Scotland becomes independent.

In an interview with the BBC, the First Minister said even those who were not “great supporters” of the monarchy still thought of her as a “quite extraordinary individual”.

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She said: “One of the things that I feel great respect for the Queen around is just that dedication, that selfless commitment to duty and to service.”

Speaking about her conversations with the monarch, Sturgeon said: “I like her a lot – I have deep respect for her as many people do.

“The context of those conversations are rightly by convention completely private and confidential and I won’t breach that.

“But I think it is fair to say that, that opportunity to talk with her, to benefit from her knowledge, her wisdom and perhaps above all the completely unique perspective she has on modern world history, is something that I deeply value and will always really treasure.”