OVER the past week, the news of Russia's brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has dominated our headlines, our heads, and our hearts.

There can be no justification for the invasion, which is an immoral and illegal act of aggression. Ukraine is a sovereign, democratic nation whose people have the inalienable right to self-determination.

The scale of destruction is devastating. In only a few days of war, thousands have been killed and over a million people have been displaced.

Promises from the Russian government to minimise civilian casualties have been broken, with densely populated towns and cities targeted across Ukraine.

In the face of such unimaginable horror, it has been incredible to see people across the Wee Country stand firmly in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

From arranging demonstrations to organising donations, folks like the Wimpy Park Community Group mobilised rapidly to bring the community together.

The Scottish Government has stepped up too, committing an initial £4m in humanitarian aid to Ukraine for medical supplies. The first minister has also agreed that we need to pay our part in the international sanctions effort, making sure that no associate of the Kremlin receives a penny of public money in Scotland.

I continue to hope, even at this late hour, that a prolonged war can be prevented. The devastation that would bring about does not bear thinking about.

But as the conflict continues to rage, one of the most urgent and important things we must do is provide safety and support for refugees and those who have been displaced.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has now reported that more than 1,000,000 people have fled the conflict in Ukraine, seeking safety in neighbouring countries.

Some of the measures the UK has announced are welcome, but the Home Office has still failed to set up safe passage to the UK for people fleeing the conflict.

Despite the flag waving in Downing Street, the UK Government has still refused to waive visas for those fleeing the conflict.

Instead, they are forcing people fleeing bombs and the terror of war to jump through bureaucratic hoops before they can find safety.

And as our European neighbours discuss ways to provide protection, the UK Government is instead passing new legislation that will criminalise refugees fleeing conflict.

The humanitarian catastrophe we saw in Afghanistan cannot be repeated in Ukraine. It is vital that the UK joins the rest of Europe in showing some practical solidarity to those forced to flee Ukraine. That means committing to visa waivers, safe passage for refugees, and binning the nasty Borders Bill that is making its way through the House of Commons.

The UN Convention on Refugees was set up in the aftermath of the horrors of World War Two. States across the globe committed to provide sanctuary to people fleeing war, persecution, and torture.

Now, more than ever, our commitment to these principles must be strengthened. Now is not the time to rip up our commitment to refugee protection.

Here in Scotland, we have a proud history of providing sanctuary to people fleeing persecution. Communities across Clackmannanshire have warmly welcomed refugees before, and we will be ready to do so again.

The UK Government must do more than offering warm words while closing the door.