Why the no-fly zone is unlikely in Ukraine

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Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has renewed calls for NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, despite repeated rejections of Western leaders concerned about a wider war in Europe. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday asked the people of Western Europe to demand that their leaders change course because shelling of Ukraine’s nuclear power plant threatens the security of the entire continent. “It is necessary to immediately close the skies over Ukraine,” he said. “Take to the streets and say you want to live, to live on earth without radioactive contamination. Radiation doesn’t know where the Russian border is.” The attack did not result in the release of radiation as feared initially. But military analysts say there is no chance that the United States, Britain and their European allies will impose a no-fly zone because it could easily turn the war in Ukraine into a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia. Here is a more detailed explanation of the situation: What is a no-fly zone? The no-fly zone prohibits all unauthorized aircraft from flying over Ukraine. Western countries imposed such restrictions on parts of Iraq more than a decade after the 1991 Gulf War, during the 1993-95 civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and during the 2011 Libyan civil war. Why won’t NATO take this step in Ukraine? Simply put, because it threatens a direct military conflict with Russia, which could escalate into a wider European war with a nuclear superpower. Although this idea could capture the public’s imagination, declaring a no-fly zone could force NATO pilots to shoot down Russian planes. But it goes beyond that. In addition to fighter jets, NATO would have to deploy tankers and electronic surveillance aircraft to support the mission. To protect these relatively slow high-flying aircraft, NATO would have to destroy surface-to-air missile batteries in Russia and Belarus, again risking a wider conflict. “We understand despair, but we also believe that if we do that, we will get something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe,” he said. “Ukraine,” he said. Ukrainian authorities and people roaming the bomb shelters night after night say the no-fly zone will protect civilians – and now nuclear power plants – from Russian airstrikes, but analysts say Russia’s ground forces, not aviation, do most of it. Ukrainians in fact want more intervention, like the one in Libya in 2011 when NATO forces launched attacks on government positions, he said. in Justin Bronck, a researcher at the Royal Institute of United Services in London. This is unlikely to happen if the enemy is Russia. “They want to see the West sort of encroach on and destroy missile artillery hitting Ukrainian cities,” Bronk said. “We are not going to go to war against the Russian army. They are a powerful nuclear power … We cannot model, let alone control the escalation chain that results from such actions. “What is happening in the sky over Ukraine? Predictions that Russia would soon control the skies over Ukraine did not come true. Military experts are wondering why Russia decided to leave most of its warplanes on the ground during this massive ground offensive. One explanation may be that Russian pilots are insufficiently trained to support large-scale ground operations, combat operations that require coordination with artillery, helicopters and other means in a fast-paced environment. “I think maybe they’re a little worried that this is a very limited area. It’s not like the Middle East, where there’s every space to wander in the air,” said Robert Latif, a retired U.S. Air Force major general. who now teaches at the University of Notre Dame. “They can cross borders very easily,” he explained. “With the fact that both Ukrainian and Russian air defense systems, and Ukrainian, the little that they have, and Russian aircraft flying – it can be very confusing. “___ Associated Press writer Lorne Cook of Brussels has contributed.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has renewed calls for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, despite repeated rejection of the idea of ​​Western leaders concerned about a wider war in Europe.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday asked Western Europeans to demand that their leaders change course because shelling of Ukraine’s nuclear power plant threatens the security of the entire continent.

“The sky over Ukraine needs to be closed immediately,” he said. “Take to the streets and say you want to live, to live on earth without radioactive contamination. Radiation doesn’t know where the Russian border is.”

The attack did not result in the release of radiation as feared initially.

But military analysts say there is no chance that the United States, Britain and their European allies will impose a no-fly zone because it could easily turn the war in Ukraine into a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the situation:

What is a no-fly zone?

The no-fly zone prohibits all unauthorized aircraft from flying over Ukraine. Western countries imposed such restrictions on parts of Iraq more than a decade after the 1991 Gulf War, during the 1993-1995 civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and during the 2011 Libyan civil war.

Why won’t NATO take this step in Ukraine?

Simply put, because it threatens a direct military conflict with Russia, which could escalate into a wider European war with a nuclear superpower.

Although the idea may have captured the public’s attention, declaring a no-fly zone could force NATO pilots to shoot down Russian planes.

But it goes beyond that. In addition to fighter jets, NATO would have to deploy tankers and electronic surveillance aircraft to support the mission. To protect these relatively slow high-flying aircraft, NATO would have to destroy ground-to-air missile batteries in Russia and Belarus, again risking a wider conflict.

“The only way to introduce a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighters into Ukrainian airspace and then introduce that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday. “We understand despair, but we also believe that if we do, we will end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe.”

“As NATO allies, we have a responsibility to prevent this war from escalating outside Ukraine,” he said.

What would the no-fly zone achieve?

Ukrainian authorities and people rocking in bomb shelters night after night say the no-fly zone will protect civilians – and now nuclear power plants – from Russian airstrikes.

But analysts say the most damage in Ukraine is caused by Russia’s ground forces, not aircraft.

Ukrainians actually want more intervention, like the one in Libya in 2011 when NATO forces launched attacks on government positions, said Justin Bronck, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London. This is unlikely to happen if Russia is the enemy.

“They want to see the West sort of attack and launch missile artillery that hits Ukrainian cities,” Bronk said. “We are not going to go to war against the Russian army. They are a powerful nuclear power … We cannot model, let alone control the escalation chain that results from such actions. “

What is happening in the sky over Ukraine?

Predictions that Russia will quickly control the skies over Ukraine have not come true.

Military experts are wondering why Russia decided to leave most of its warplanes on the ground during this massive ground offensive. One explanation may be that Russian pilots are insufficiently trained to support large-scale ground operations that require coordination with artillery, helicopters and other means in a fast-paced environment.

“I think maybe they’re a little worried that it’s a very limited area. It’s not like the Middle East, where there’s all kinds of space to wander in the air,” said Robert Latif, a retired U.S. Air Force major general. , who now teaches at the University of Notre Dame.

“They can cross borders very easily,” he explained. “With the fact that both Ukrainian and Russian air defense systems, and Ukrainian, what little they have, and Russian aircraft flying – it can be very confusing. “

___

Contributed by Associated Press writer Lorne Cook of Brussels.

Why the no-fly zone is unlikely in Ukraine

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