Annie Wells and Murdo Fraser accused The National of spreading Kremlin propaganda

THE Jouker is pretty used to seeing insults levelled at The National by Tories raging that the newspaper even exists – that’s been going on since the very first word on the very first edition was printed, tbh.

But today, we saw Tories work themselves into a frenzy to attack The National for doing something that basically every other news outlet in the UK did too.

On Monday, a Kremlin spokesperson blamed UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss for Russia’s nuclear deterrent being put on high alert – after the Russian president criticised “aggressive statements” from Nato members.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon defends Liz Truss after Kremlin blames her for Putin's nuclear orders

Downing Street also said the comments from Dmitri Peskov were an attempt to distract from Russia’s difficulties in the Ukraine invasion.

“It remains the case that the rhetoric we are seeing from Putin’s regime is designed to distract from the situation on the ground, that is very much our focus,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said.

Annie Wells and Murdo Fraser accused The National of spreading Kremlin propaganda

The National reported this exchange, as did the BBC, ITV, Sky News, the Press Association, Tory-favourite the Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, The Herald and The Scotsman, among many other titles on a list too long to replicate.

When those other newspapers and broadcasters reported on the development, that was apparently fine. But when The National did it, the newspaper was accused of spreading Putin’s propaganda.

Annie Wells and Murdo Fraser accused The National of spreading Kremlin propaganda

Yes, you read that right – the same newspaper which has been dedicated to standing in solidarity with Ukrainians with a number of front pages and articles making our position on the invasion pretty clear, is apparently helping Putin and his horrific behaviour.

Responding to our story, which again only contained the facts and quotes that the vast majority of news organisations reported, Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser tweeted: “Oh dear. @ScotNational have really jumped the shark this time. Now unashamedly an outlet for Kremlin propaganda.”

This was retweeted by a number of Conservative MSPs, including Stephen Kerr and Sue Webber. It’s unclear whether they believed the BBC and Telegraph’s versions constituted Kremlin propaganda.

Fraser, MSP for the Mid Scotland and Fife region, then suggested he only had an issue with The National’s story because we “didn’t report the UK Govt response” – but, er, the newspaper absolutely did. The Scottish Tories refused to say whether Fraser would be apologising or deleting the false claim.

Ruth Davidson (remember the Tories received a £20,000 donation from a Putin-linked Tory donor so they could have dinner with her – but the dinner has never happened), Miles Briggs and Annie Wells were among those sharing messages attacking the newspaper as spreading Kremlin disinformation, but conveniently ignoring those reports in their usual favourite news outlets.

After all that, Chris Philp, a minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, then decided to get stuck on the bandwagon. The Tory WhatsApp groups must have been absolutely buzzing with the opportunity to launch a baseless attack on Scotland’s only pro-independence daily newspaper.

It’s a good distraction from that £2 million in Russian money donated to the party since Johnson came to power, isn’t it?

READ MORE: What are the UK Conservative Party's links to Russian money and who are the donors?

Philp tweeted: “Disgraceful that the mouthpiece of the Nationalists is now parroting absurd Kremlin propaganda.”

The National asked DCMS if Philp’s condemnation means he also believed the BBC’s article was “parroting Kremlin propaganda”. They did not respond to the request.

Anyway, we only have four words to finish this article with. And no, it’s not Putin-linked Tory donor.

Scotland stands with Ukraine.