“The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukrainian airspace, and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes,” Stoltenberg said. He said allies believe that “if we did that, we would end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe.”
NATO countries refused on Friday to police a no-fly zone over Ukraine, warning that such a move could provoke widespread war in Europe with nuclear power Russia, the organization’s top civilian official said, AP reports.
Speaking after chairing a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged the suffering of the Ukrainian people, as Russia ramps up its use of heavy firepower, shelling cities and other sites, forcing more than a million people out of the country.
“What is taking place now in Ukraine is horrific. It’s painful and we see human suffering, we see destruction at a scale we haven’t seen in Europe since the Second World War,” he said. But, he added: “We are not going to move into Ukraine, neither on the ground, nor in the Ukrainian airspace.”
Under a collective security guarantee binding NATO’s 30 member countries — Article 5 of its founding treaty — all allies must come to the defense of an ally if it finds itself under attack. Any shooting down of a NATO warplane by Russia could trigger that clause.
© Copyright LaPresse