NATO refuses to police no-fly zone over Ukraine amid Russian invasion

Associated PressUpdated: Saturday, March 05, 2022, 09:12 AM IST
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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 organisation's top civilian official said.

“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.

“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,” the official 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.” However, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, who was speaking alongside NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, warned Vladimir Putin that NATO stands ready to defend 'every inch' of its territory. They were speaking after a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

Blinken insisted NATO is a defensive alliance and is not seeking a fight with Moscow - but would stand up for its members if attacked. Two NATO states - Poland and Romania - directly border Ukraine, and three more - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - sit close to the border in the Baltics

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