Welsh minister calls for no-fly zone in Ukraine – ‘appeasement will no longer work’
A Welsh Government minister has called for a no-fly zone in Ukraine, despite previously warning that it could escalate to nuclear conflict.
Labour Member of the Senedd and Welsh Counsel General Mick Antoniw, who is of Ukrainian descent and was in the country shortly before conflict broke out, said that he was now calling for a no-fly zone to be imposed after Russia continued to shell the civilian population of the country.
He called on western countries to honour the Budapest Agreement under which they promised to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity in return for them giving up their nuclear weapons.
But a no-fly zone would mean that Russian planes going into Ukraine’s air space would need to be shot down by other countries, which could be interpreted as a declaration of war by nuclear-armed Russia.
“In the light of direct attacks by Russia on the Civilian population in Ukraine it is time for a no-fly zone, not by NATO but by Britain, France and US to honour their obligations to protect Ukrainian Sovereignty under the Budapest Agreement,” Mick Antoniw said.
“Under the Budapest Agreement, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons. Britain, France and US said they would protect Ukrainian sovereignty. Now is the time to prove that agreement is worth the paper it is written on!”
Asked whether that would simply draw other nations into a wider conflict and possibly lead to a Third World War, he responded: “That presumes [Russia] won’t go for Baltic States and further expansion. He has to be called out now, appeasement will no longer work.”
ick Antoniw’s call for a no-fly zone represents a change of direction after earlier in the week, when he said that he felt that Ukraine should be armed by western countries but they should not get directly involved.
Asked on Walescast if he supported President Zelensky’s call for a no-fly zone, he said: “I think most Ukrainians recognise that for Nato to actually become directly involved in the war would then escalate it to potential nuclear warfare.
“So, what I’m hearing from most Ukrainians is that we need Stinger missiles, we need the ammunition, we need the capacity to fight, we need air defence systems, we need some of the radar communications technology.
“Although in the last month or two, more and more weaponry has been going to Ukraine, when you consider this situation’s been developing for eight years, it is really, in many ways, too little, too late.”
Vladimir Putin warned yesterday that any attempt to impose a no-fly zone in Ukraine would be tantamount to entering the conflict.
The Russian leader said he would view “any move in this direction” as an intervention that “will pose a threat to our service members”.
“That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are,” he said at the Aeroflot training centre near Moscow.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has called for Nato to impose a no-fly zone over his country, warning that “all the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you.”
Nato has rejected the request on the grounds it could provoke widespread war in Europe.
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