The alliance should not have the bloc’s planes operating in Ukrainian airspace or boots on the ground, its secretary general said
NATO members discussed Ukraine’s pleas to establish a ‘no-fly zone’ over the country, but the alliance is determined not to engage directly in the military confrontation between Moscow and Kiev, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday, after a meeting of foreign ministers of the allies.
“NATO is a defense alliance. We have one mission: to ensure the safety of all 30 countries. This conflict is not ours. And we have a responsibility to ensure it does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine,”He said. “NATO is not seeking a war with Russia.”
Stoltenberg stated that NATO has increased its consultations and is now participating in NATO events. He also said that the alliance has increased its support for Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other NATO members.
The option of a ‘no-fly zone’, which Kiev has been requesting from NATO members, was “mentioned”Stoltenberg spoke at the meeting. But member states “agreed that we should not have NATO planes operating over Ukrainian airspace or NATO troops on Ukrainian territory.”
A ‘no-fly zone’ would require NATO to shoot down Russian military aircraft involved in the Ukraine offensive, Stoltenberg pointed out. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that any attempt to interfere in the operation would be met with severe consequences. “unlike anything they had in their history.”It was seen by many Western countries as a threat to nuclear weapons.
Stoltenberg claimed that he trained and armed tens, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers over many years. This allowed them to resist the Russian invasion now. Putin cited NATO’s creeping expansion into Ukraine as a major reason for ordering the attack in the first place. Russia had for years claimed that NATO’s entry into its west would violate its rights and Russia would need to react to the threat it perceives as to its national security.
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