ROSS Greer has urged the Scottish Greens to rethink their defence policy in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While continuing to make the case for the party’s opposition to Nato, the West of Scotland MSP has argued that the Greens must make clear what their “alternative” is and called for a “refresh” of the party’s policy on defence.

He challenged the party’s “blanket ban” on sending offensive weapons to other countries, suggesting this does not deal “with the world as it is” in a piece written for the site Bright Green, a left-wing blog.

He wrote: “Supplying arms to any side in a live conflict can obviously have unintended consequences. Such risks should be taken seriously by any countries supplying arms to Ukraine.

READ MORE: Chancellor confirms cuts of up to £18bn for public services amid economic turmoil

“However, it is an unavoidable reality that there won’t be peace without further Ukrainian military victories. Ukrainian civilians can only be protected from the mass executions, torture and rape too many have already fallen victim to at the hands of Russian forces if their military has the equipment it needs to protect them.

“And yes, the grim reality is that this equipment must include the weapons needed to shoot down Russian jets, to destroy Russian artillery and to drive Russian troops out of the towns they are occupying and brutalising.

“For Ukrainians, this is a defensive war against an illegal invasion of their sovereign state. That is why, despite concerns about the risks attached, we have not opposed the transfer of weapons to Ukraine’s military, who would have lost this war long before now had it not been for these critical supplies.”

Greer has put forward a motion for debate at the party’s conference later this month, which calls for the export of arms to other countries to be “strictly limited to the supply of those who have a clear defensive need, such as nations subject to illegal foreign aggression”.

He said that an independent Scotland being outside Nato remained the “morally and strategically correct choice to make” but has made the case for signing up to the European Union’s Common Defence and Security Policy – sometimes known as the European Army.

He added: “If we are to credibly maintain our opposition to Nato on the basis of its nuclear policy and human rights concerns, committing an independent Scotland to participate in a non-nuclear alliance underpinned by commitment to those values seems to be not only an obvious alternative but also the only realistic one available to us.

READ MORE: Nadine Dorries says Liz Truss 'must' hold General Election during Tory conference

“These debates may not be the ones most Greens would put at the top of the agenda but in Scotland in particular, with an independence referendum next year, the public expect us to have credible answers. And our friends in Ukraine quite reasonably want to know where we stand.”

The Nato question has long been a thorny one for the independence movement, given the “nuclear umbrella” policy of the alliance.

The SNP changed its position on Nato in 2012, sparking a small rebellion among members. John Finnie, a former MSP for the Highlands and Islands, left the party to join the Greens over the decision.

The party has insisted that Nato membership would not mean Scotland would have to host nuclear weapons.