Ukraine-Russia: Nicola Sturgeon suggests Nato should not rule out no-fly zone over Ukraine

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested Nato should keep an open mind about enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

In an interview with ITV Border, the First Minister said she “shares concerns” this could lead to a direct military confrontation between Nato and Russia.

However, she said Vladimir Putin was not acting in “any way rationally or defensively”.

Former first minister Alex Salmond condemned her comments, accusing her of “contemplating direct armed conflict between nuclear powers”.

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The ex-SNP leader said: “Scottish opinion is united in condemning the illegal invasion of Ukraine, working to restore the peace and offering a generous hand of friendship to refugees, fleeing this disastrous conflict.

"But in every international conflict for the last 60 years, the national movement in Scotland has stood for de-escalation and peace, not escalation and Armageddon.

"Thus ‘keeping an open mind’ on enforcing a no-fly zone is contemplating direct armed conflict between nuclear powers. Nicola should reflect.”

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said no allies were considering the measure to help repel the Russian invasion as it would involve “shooting down Russian planes”.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says NATO should not rule out No Fly Zone over Ukraine (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/PA Wire)

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Asked specifically about a no-fly zone, Ms Sturgeon said: "I think the West has to keep its mind open to every way in which Ukraine can be helped, so I think getting whatever military support and military equipment that Ukraine needs has to be a priority and I would hope that we would see a solution found.”

The First Minister added: "I understand and share the concerns about a direct military confrontation between Russian and Nato that a no-fly zone may lead to.

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"I understand that. Nobody wants to see an escalation of that nature.

"But on the other hand, Putin is not acting in any way rationally or defensively and we have a situation right now where perhaps the only thing nuclear weapons are deterring is the ability to properly and directly help Ukraine.

"All of these things must be considered on a daily basis.

"The world cannot stand by and watch Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty be extinguished.

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"That would be morally wrong from Ukraine’s perspective, but the implications of that for the rest of us in terms of the values we hold dear would be severe too.”

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