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Ukrainian diplomat renews calls for air defence by NATO neighbours

In World
June 04, 2024

The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany has repeated his call for a defence system against Russian air attacks on western Ukraine to be set up on NATO territory.

Oleksii Makeiev wrote in an article for the German news site Zeit Online that Russian missiles and drones should be intercepted by weapon systems located on the other side of the Ukrainian border in neighbouring countries.

Ukraine is currently exposed to a constant hail of Russian air strikes, and Russian troops are also advancing on the ground. “With every kilometre they occupy in Ukraine, they move one kilometre closer to the EU,” Makeiev warned.

Protecting western Ukrainian airspace from the outside is technically possible and legally permissible, the ambassador argued.

As an example, he cited the successful defence against the Iranian air attack on Israel in April, in which the US, United Kingdom, Jordan and other countries took part.

Under international law, the UN Charter stipulates that a country under attack may defend itself. Third countries are allowed to help the attacked country without becoming a target themselves.

Russia currently only uses drones, missiles and cruise missiles for air strikes deep in the Ukrainian hinterland, meaning that any defensive system there would not run the risk of killing Russian pilots.

Although western Ukraine is several hundred kilometres away from the front line, it is still repeatedly struck from the air. Targets include important energy infrastructure facilities as well as Ukrainian military airfields and training grounds.

Intercepting Russian missiles over western Ukraine would be most likely to be possible from the territory of the NATO states of Poland and Romania.

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