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12 May, 2024 10:23

German MPs want to shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine

Incoming drones and projectiles could be targeted from Poland and Romania, lawmakers have said
German MPs want to shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine

German lawmakers from both the ruling coalition and the opposition support the idea of NATO imposing a no-fly zone over western Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) has reported.

For its article on Saturday, the paper asked members of parliament about the proposal, earlier floated by the defense minister’s chief of staff, Nico Lange, who suggested that Russian missiles and drones targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure and military installations could be shot down from the territory of neighboring Poland and Romania.

According to Lange, this would lead to the creation of a 70-km-wide safe zone on the border between the EU and Ukraine, while also allowing Kiev to re-deploy its own air defense systems, which are in short supply, from the west of the country to the front line.

“Defending the airspace over Ukraine from Poland and Romania should not be ruled out in the long term,” Anton Hofreiter, a member of parliament for the Green Party, which is part of the German coalition, told FAZ. However, such a move is “not up for debate” at the moment as the current priority for the West is to supply Ukraine with “significantly more” arms and ammunition, he stressed.

Marcus Faber from the Free Democratic Party (FDP), also in the ruling coalition, agreed that the “airspace over the Ukrainian border regions” could be “protected by air defenses on NATO territory.” According to Faber, this would only be “possible” if the West can secure enough ammunition for the air defense systems.

A lawmaker for the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Roderich Kiesewetter, also said Kiev’s Western backers could shoot down Russian drones over western Ukraine. “This would relieve the Ukrainian air defense and enable it to protect the front,” he explained.

Kiesewetter recalled how the US, UK and France assisted Israel with countering a large-scale bombardment by Iran in April, saying it showed that countries can provide such help to their allies without actually becoming “a party to the conflict.”

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the US-made F-16 fighter jets that the West is planning to supply to Ukraine will be targeted at airfields in NATO countries if they are going to operate from there.

Earlier this week, Russia said it would conduct tactical nuclear weapons drills as a warning to the US and its allies not to escalate the Ukraine conflict. The announcement followed a suggestion by Poland of potentially hosting US nuclear weapons, and remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron about the possibility of sending French and other NATO soldiers to Ukraine.

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