Nato rejects no-fly zone over Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling on Nato to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine to stop the bombing of his country by Russia. But all members of the defence alliance have so far categorically ruled out this option. President Putin has reiterated his warning that Russia would interpret such a move as a declaration of war and retaliate accordingly. Europe's press is divided.

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Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

The only possible decision

Preventing a nuclear war has to take priority over the suffering of a single nation, Mladá fronta dnes argues:

“The term 'no-fly zone' sounds almost harmless. But whoever declares it must also enforce it. ... Politicians have rejected it, arguing that it could lead to a third, potentially nuclear, world war. ... Western leaders faced a cruel question: is Ukraine worth going to war with nuclear power Russia over? For the West, this is classic realpolitik, which does not take into account the morals of a smaller country that is being overrun by a larger one. Things were comparatively easy for the politicians in the past. They made decisions on their own and they weren't under constant pressure from videos on the Internet.”

NV (UA) /

Nato must help us to protect our skies!

Writer Sergei Postolovski demands more support from Nato is in NV:

“We need air defence systems to stop the horror that this bloody tyrant is inflicting on our soil. I think that our partners will not deny us at least this. Because even if they are afraid to seal off the skies over Ukraine, they should at least give us their protective air defence systems with which we can defend Ukrainian airspace ourselves. The West must do this so that in the years to come the Europeans can proudly say that it was they who closed the skies over Ukraine and saved not only Ukraine, but all of Europe. After all, Putin will not confine his attacks to Ukraine.”

Libertatea (RO) /

This way Zelensky can justify sacrifices

Although he knows that his demand will not be met, the Ukrainian president is demanding the maximum in order to save face with his people, Libertatea suspects:

“By asking Nato for the impossible, or to be precise, the outbreak of a third world war, Zelensky is in fact securing the alibi he needs to negotiate an end to the war under conditions that could damage his image as an intransigent fighter. Since Nato has publicly and categorically rejected his demands, the heroic Ukrainian leader will be able to justify forthcoming negotiations entailing sacrifices that until yesterday seemed unacceptable.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Paralysed by fear

Nato must not be so easily intimidated, laments De Telegraaf:

“Nothing stands in the way of President Putin's destroying an independent and free Ukraine. The West has not been able to stop this despot. Worse still, Putin is being told very clearly what the allies won't do: no no-fly zone and no ground troops. It is being stressed that intervention is out of the question because Ukraine is not a member of Nato. Faced with this argument, one wonders what the alliance would do if other countries outside Nato - such as Finland, Sweden or Moldova - were attacked. Will a veiled nuclear threat also be reason enough to refrain from intervening then? The current fear-based restraint does not bode well.”

Aamulehti (FI) /

Neutral states are on their own

Unless Finland secures assistance through Nato membership or other treaties it will stand alone in the event of an attack, writes Aamulehti:

“Citizens are now wondering how our military and civil society would react in the same situation. The Finnish Armed Forces have built up the capability to independently repel conventional attacks over decades. We have among the largest military capabilities in Europe, modern weapons, good local defence, a reserve and the will to defend. We already knew all this and the Russian invasion has now brought further knowledge: you can only rely on your own forces, and support from other countries must be secured in good time.”