Ukraine warned no-fly zone would 'favour Russia'
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
The Ukrainian President accused Vladimir Putin of engaging in “nuclear terrorism” earlier today, on Friday, following reports of shelling on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Insisting “radiation doesn’t know where the borders of your country is”, Mr Zelensky called on world leaders to introduce – and, of course, enforce – a no fly zone over his country. The proposal has so far been rejected by leaders both in the UK and the US, as well as during a meeting of NATO members today. But some have questioned whether politicians will hold their nerves, especially considering remarks such as those from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss that the West will use “all the legal and political means at our disposal” against Russian aggression.
William Clouston, leader of the SDP, said it was “understandable” Mr Zelensky was asking for this support, but warned the consequences could be dire.
He told Express.co.uk it was vitally important for Western leaders to work towards de-escalation – not for conflagration.
Mr Clouston said: “It’s understandable that President Zelensky should ask for a NATO-enforced no fly zone (NFZ). He is, after all, involved in a national war of survival.
“But a NFZ would be a very foolish move.
“It would widen and escalate the war, it would probably breach NATO’s defensive mandate and, most importantly, it would increase the prospect of nuclear conflict.”
He added: “Putin’s action against Ukraine is appalling but western leaders must avoid escalation and conflagration.”
Former Regular Army Officer Colonel Simon Diggins praised Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for so far holding the line against calls for a no fly zone.
He told Express.co.uk an NFZ would detract from efforts against Putin in a number of ways, not least by “grounding” Ukrainian forces as well, given “you don’t get to pick and choose” who can and cannot fly.
READ MORE: Putin’s army from ‘mysteriously weak’ to ‘brutal’
This aspect of the proposal could, he added, actually benefit the Russian army, the main strength of which appears so far to have been hammered through rockets and artillery, neither of which would be covered by the NFZ.
What is believed to be a 40-mile long military convoy of tanks and armoured vehicles heading towards Kyiv – which Ukraine could not attack under an NFZ – acts as an indicator of this point.
Colonel Diggins added enforcing a no fly zone over Ukraine would “put us [that is, Britain and the rest of the West] directly against Russia”.
Russia sanctions will be ‘more painful’ to EU [OPINION]
People sensationally blame Brexit for Russia’s chilling invasion [REPORT]
Iran blames West for Putin invading Ukraine in sensational attack [REVEAL]
This, he said, would constitute a “major move” that we would have to “think very carefully about”.
Events could escalate rapidly following such an enforcement.
Following a NATO meeting today, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed a no fly zone was discussed but rejected.
He said: “Allies agree that we should not have NATO planes operating in Ukrainian airspace or NATO troops on Ukrainian territory.”
But while the proposal has been rejected on a practical level, the emotional force behind its delivery could yet shift favour.
Source: Read Full Article