Pahor rejects idea of NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine

Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor has rejected initiatives that NATO should establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine in order to help the Ukrainian forces fight Russian aircraft, which has been floated also by Prime Minister Janez Janša. He said this would mean a “large-scale war” and a completely “unpredictable development of events”.

Pahor, who is also the supreme commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces, told the press on Friday that enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would mean that NATO aircraft would enter the Ukrainian airspace and face Russian aircraft.

This could lead to a “large-scale war between NATO and Russia”, he said, noting that Ukraine was not a NATO member and that there were thus no reasons to apply Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty on collective defence.

“However, NATO will respond with all its force if Russia decides on aggression against one of the NATO members,” the president said, noting that such views had also been expressed by the NATO leadership in recent days.

Pahor said that the “proposal is not legally justified, and it is very risky politically”, while he again condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, stressing that Russia had “no moral justification” for using force against Ukraine.

The president described as positive the “great unity shown by the international community in condemning the Russian attack”.

Pahor said that Slovenia, aware that “the future of European peace and security is being decided on in Ukraine in many ways”, would help Ukraine “in all possible ways”.

Defence Minister Matej Tonin explained at the same press conference that Janša, while advocating the introduction of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, had noted that this option was “unrealistic at the moment”.

It was mainly a proposal from Ukraine for a more favourable balance of power on the ground, Tonin said, adding that there was no support for the proposal in NATO either.

Ukraine is being helped in other ways, including with weapons and equipment, Tonin said, noting that Janša and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki had proposed a facilitated accession of Ukraine in the EU.