Nato’s former deputy supreme allied commander has firmly rejected the idea of implementing a no-fly zone in Ukraine.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, warned the move could provoke a “third world war”.
“This is not like Iraq; we’re up against sophisticated enemy with very capable air defence assets.
“This becomes a struggle between the forces of Nato and the forces of Russia, on the ground, quite probably from the sea, in the air, in the space domain, in the information domain and in the cyber domain.
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“This is war. It involves 30 countries fighting Russia. This is the third world war in anybody’s language. “We cannot afford to let that happen,” he went on.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace, also reiterated his opposition to a no-fly zone, telling Times Radio this morning that: “no one seems to actually analyse what no-fly zone means and what it would mean for Ukrainian armed forces.”
“The Ukrainian armed forces are outnumbered on the ground massively by Russian armour and Russian army. One of the few weapons they have against those soldiers on the ground and forces, like those big armoured columns, is the ability to fly their fast jets and to use UAVs to strike logistical chains and their air defences etc.”
He even went on to argue that a no-fly zone would help the Russian advance by “favour[ing] the force with the massive armed forces, which will be Russia.”
Wallace also highlighted that Russia “…have lots of long range missiles. So they can replace air attack with missiles strikes. So from a military point of view, it wouldn’t help Ukraine.”
“Secondly… it would require British fighter jets to, to enforce it by using force against Russian fighter jets. And you would end up with potentially a Nato conflict with Russia across all of Europe,” he concluded.
These remarks follow a flurry of comments by public figures in Britain on this matter, following a plea by the Ukrainian president.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood who chairs the Commons’ defence committee, tweeted on Tuesday: “Pleased to see powerful voices joining my call for a humanitarian partial or total NO FLY ZONE. What scale of war crimes, what numbers of civilian deaths must we witness – before NATO, the most powerful military alliance in the world, is tasked to intervene?”
David Davis also expressed his support for the move.
Mail on Sunday commentator Dan Hodges also took to Twitter to compare the situation to the lead up the the Second World War: “If people want to oppose a no-fly zone, fine,” he wrote. “But understand that is an act of appeasement no different to our appeasement of Hitler in 1938. We refuse to do what we believe is morally right because of fear. We are prepared to let a free nation die to safeguard ourselves.”