Imposing A No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine Would 'Give Succour' To Putin's Lies, Says Raab
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said a no-fly zone over war-torn Ukraine would only serve to help Vladimir Putin's campaign of disinformation, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Nato to step up its response.
Zelenskyy has implored western governments to stop Russian planes dropping bombs on Ukraine by imposing a no fly zone over the country. On Saturday he said failure to do so would result in more innocent Ukrainians dying, telling allies "all the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you."
Speaking on Sunday morning, Raab doubled down on the government's refusal to push for a no fly zone, telling the BBC's Sophie Raworth that doing so would help Putin make his false claim that Russia is defending itself from the west.
Raab, who is also the justice secretary, said: "We understand their plight and that he [Zelenskyy] wants everything done.
"We have been clear all along – not just the UK but our allies, too – that we are not going to engage Putin in direct military confrontation. That is giving succour to his argument that he’s actually in a conflict with the west".
He added: "The right strategy for us is to keep putting the squeeze on those who are bank rolling Putin’s war machine and keep steeling the capacity as well as the will of the Ukrainian people".
Raab was backed by Admiral Tony Radakin, the head of the British armed forces, who this morning said "the last thing" the UK wants is a war between Nato and Putin.
"This is a really difficult, desperate and awful situation for the people of Ukraine but we also have to be sensible in acknowledging that we want to avoid a war with Russia," he told the BBC.
"That would lead to a terrible situation getting even worse. The last thing we want is a war between NATO and Russia and increased escalation.”
Radakin added that a no fly zone would have limited strategic benefit as most of the Russian shelling of Ukraine is being carried out by land forces, not aircraft.
However, the army chief repeated UK intelligence warnings that Russia's attacks on Ukraine would likely become even more indiscriminate in the coming days as Putin's frustration with his stuttered campaign grows.
“We all have to acknowledge that we are likely to see Russia ratcheting up the violence," he told Raworth, adding that there will be more indiscriminate shelling and "ridiculous violence”.
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