Ukraine’s No-Fly Zone Explained: Russia, World War & Why NATO are Refusing to Help

There are 3 words being thrown around right now that would dramatically change the state of the war in Ukraine: No-Fly Zone. Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelenskyy has been passionately pleading for Ukraine’s allies to ‘close the skies’ and introduce a…
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There are 3 words being thrown around right now that would dramatically change the state of the war in Ukraine: No-Fly Zone.

Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelenskyy has been passionately pleading for Ukraine’s allies to ‘close the skies’ and introduce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.But what exactly does that mean and why are Ukraine’s allies, specifically members of the NATO alliance, refusing the call?

Around the world there have been protests pleading for NATO to support a no-fly zone and some leaders have even been directly called out.

A No-fly zone is basically an order to ban certain aircraft from flying through a specific area. You might see them in place over some government buildings, sporting events or sacred sites and that may be for security, cultural or religious reasons.

In this case the idea is that a no-fly zone over Ukraine enforced by members of the NATO alliance would help to stop aerial attacks by Russian planes which have been devastating parts of the country.

NATO members have been very vocal in their support of Ukraine’s situation but all have refused this request.

Why?

Creating a no-fly zone isn’t just about telling planes to stop entering a specific airspace, it means physically shooting down any aircraft that flies into it. A member of NATO shooting down a Russian plane would immediately escalate what is currently a conflict between two countries into a World War.

The way that NATO is supposed to work is that an attack on one is an attack on all, so even if just one member of NATO decided to help out Ukraine it could draw in every other member of the alliance as soon as things escalated. That’s something that NATO is trying to avoid.

NATO has enforced a no-fly zone before about a decade ago in Libya but the stakes were a lot different in that case. Especially as this conflict involves a country with the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

To really drive the point home, Russia’s President Vladmir Putin has said that any foreign nation simply announcing a no-fly zone, let alone actually shooting down any Russian planes, would be viewed by Russia as an act of war.

Instead many of NATO’s members are actively working to send aid & military supplies including fighter jets to Ukraine.

However Ukraine’s President has said this isn’t good enough and that NATO’s inaction in this situation will lead to more Ukrainian deaths.

The bottom line here is that direct military action is still seen as a huge risk that Ukraine’s allies aren’t willing to take.

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