Enforcing no-fly zone in Ukraine would 'effectively lead' to WWIII - former NATO Sec. General

5 March 2022, 17:15 | Updated: 5 March 2022, 17:28

Enforcing a no-fly zone in Ukraine would 'effectively lead' to WWIII - former NATO Sec. General
Enforcing a no-fly zone in Ukraine would 'effectively lead' to WWIII - former NATO Sec. General. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Tim Dodd

Former NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson tells LBC trying to enforce a no-fly zone in Ukraine could involve attacking air defences on Russian soil and therefore spark "the third world war".

It comes as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has condemned Nato for refusing to introduce a no-fly zone, saying it will be partially responsible for those killed amid the conflict.

Mr Zelenskyy said in a late night address on Friday that he felt the West needed to do more to defend Ukraine, criticising Nato for its refusal to impose a no-fly zone.

Lord Robertson told David Lammy: "I can understand President Zelenskyy's frustration and indeed the lack of comprehension by the outside world [of] what is going on in Ukraine, and having a belief that if NATO was simply to enforce a no-fly zone some relief would be given to the people of Ukraine.

"Unfortunately, the real world means that is not a simple, easy or even possible solution."

Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and other Nato leaders have all been adamant that they cannot actively get involved in the fighting.

They have warned that to do so could provoke widespread war in Europe with a nuclear-armed Russia.

Read more: Government tells Brits to leave Russia as Ukraine crisis escalates

Caller tells Andrew Pierce 'be careful how you use your language'

Lord Robertson continued: "Before I went to NATO I was Britain's defence secretary, and therefore in charge of the no-fly zones over Iraq, and we policed these no-fly zones from an early point when John Major put them into place.

"But they weren't easy or safe options to do, and they involved attacking targets on the ground. There's no point in putting airplanes in from your side if their air defences are going to knock the planes out of the air, and some of the air defences that the Russians are using at the moment are not located inside Ukraine, they're inside Russian territory itself.

"So to try to enforce a no-fly zone might involve taking on targets in Russia, and I think even the non-military expert can see that that might well lead to a confrontation between NATO and Russia, and effectively the third world war.

"It would be extremely dangerous to put in place."

Read more: 'By God's grace we avoided nuclear catastrophe': Russian power plant attack condemned

Read more: 'Astonishing': Brits praised for raising £55m for Ukraine in just one day