Zelensky Proposes NATO Air Support Strategy Against Russian Missiles

World » UKRAINE | May 21, 2024, Tuesday // 10:06
Bulgaria: Zelensky Proposes NATO Air Support Strategy Against Russian Missiles @Wikimedia Commons

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has proposed a strategy to involve aircraft from NATO countries bordering Ukraine in repelling Russian missile attacks without triggering direct military involvement. In an interview with Reuters, he outlined his concept, emphasizing the potential for NATO allies to contribute to air defense efforts until the promised delivery of F-16 fighter jets.

Zelensky highlighted the significant number of Russian aircraft operating in Ukrainian airspace and the need for around 120-130 aircraft to effectively defend against them. He suggested utilizing aircraft stationed in neighboring NATO countries to intercept and shoot down incoming missiles, thus safeguarding civilians and countering Russian aggression.

Zelensky cited the example of the Polish Air Force, which responds to Russian air attacks by deploying aircraft but refrains from engaging with the missiles directly. He argued that such actions would not constitute military intervention or aggression by NATO countries, addressing concerns raised by the alliance regarding the escalation of the conflict.

The Ukrainian president expressed frustration with the slow pace of international assistance, noting that requested aid typically arrives approximately a year after being sought. He lamented the lack of earlier access to systems like the American Patriot anti-missile system, which could have mitigated damage from Russian attacks on vital infrastructure.

Regarding the ongoing situation on the front lines, Zelensky described it as one of the most challenging periods since the conflict's inception, attributing the heightened tensions to Russian advances toward Kharkiv. However, he reassured that the situation around Kharkiv remains under control despite recent escalations.

Zelensky also highlighted ongoing battles in eastern Ukraine, particularly in the Donbas region, where clashes have intensified in locations like Kurakhovo, Pokrovsk, and Chasov Yar. He characterized Ukrainian airstrikes targeting Russian energy facilities as retaliatory measures in response to attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, emphasizing the use of long-range drones for such operations.

The president clarified that Ukraine has refrained from deploying Western weapons on Russian territory without approval, as it could jeopardize ongoing arms deliveries. Zelensky expressed hopes for cooperation with international partners to utilize their weaponry against Russian forces along the border, although progress in these negotiations has been limited thus far.

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Tags: NATO, Russia, Ukraine, Zelensky

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