‘UKRAINE does not need warm words and sympathy – Ukraine needs action going forward.” I said these words at last summer’s meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly. With everything that our Ukrainian friends continue to face, I still stand by these words.

The SNP have been resolute in their support of Ukraine since Russia’s original invasion in 2014. My friend Stewart McDonald in particular has been a vocal advocate since being elected to the Westminster Parliament and was in the country last week to see first-hand the actions of Putin’s Russia. While he was there, I was alongside my friend Deidre Brock MP in Vienna at the winter meeting of the OSCE, where there was encouraging support both for Ukraine and Belarus’ democratic activists.

As I have outlined previously, the OSCE brings together 57 different countries to find solutions to common security challenges. It is an old institution, originally established during the Cold War, and helped find solutions on issues across a range of territories such as the Balkans or the Caucasus. It is not perfect (particularly since Russia remains a hostile member) but what it does do is ensure that politicians and experts across our shared continent are talking together and can try to find ways to prevent security arguments exploding into new conflicts.

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International organisations can be seen as nebulous institutions which don’t seem to have any real day-to-day impact on most people’s lives in Scotland. This, I would argue, is a good thing since it means it is one less thing for people to worry about when they have enough stresses in their daily lives.

That being said, they play a crucial role in stabilising the international system that we all – states, businesses, NGOs and individuals – live in. When the international system is functioning, we don’t tend to notice it; when it’s not, suddenly crises in the Middle East or Ukraine can have far-reaching consequences on people’s lives. Folk may complain about bodies such as the United Nations, the OSCE or the World Health Organisation but if we did not have them, in our interconnected world we would almost certainly look to create something similar.

Food is one such example, where the cost of Russia’s invasion led to grain prices getting higher as well as fuel and fertiliser costs for our domestic farmers. Attacks by Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea have also led many ships to take a longer detour avoiding the Red Sea and going around the Cape of Good Hope, thereby increasing transport costs for the suppliers. These costs in turn are passed on to us, the consumers. Everything is connected to everything else.

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Brexit, of course, has exacerbated these increasing prices because of unnecessary bureaucratic barriers that the UK has erected against the world. The wider point stands, however: that in a globalised world, what happens elsewhere has ramifications at home whether it be the stock on supermarket shelves, medicine supplies or car parts. Strong international institutions can help mitigate these shocks and it is vital we are active and engaged within them.

The problem, though, is that these institutions are being challenged by authoritarian states who want to reshape the world in their image. Not in a collaborative way which looks to bring about reform, but a return to a world where might makes right. It is a world where authoritarian strongmen dominate and the rest suffer what they must.

The international system has all the imperfections of a system designed by fallible humans. Without the institutions that exist, though, the alternative is anarchy or an unstable world order at the whim of tyrants.

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It is why if we believe in values such as universal human rights, of liberal democracy and the right for each country to be sovereign, then we must be resolute in its support of Ukraine. It was encouraging to see European leaders state their support clearly on Monday’s meeting in Brussels but it was also important to hear this at last week’s OSCE meeting in Vienna. Warm words do not, though, provide defence – only actions do that.

We have a stake in securing a functioning international system so that an independent Scotland will thrive instead of being under the shadow of larger states.

The rights we are looking to secure for ourselves do not come with no risks and no obligations. We must be prepared to work alongside like-minded friends not only to ensure a functioning international system but also put forward constructive proposals to improve the institutions that touch all our lives.

An independent Scotland will not shrink back from the world but will engage with it – as such I very much look forward to one day seeing Scotland’s MSPs be her voice in bodies such as the OSCE!