By Declan Carey
BY ANY estimate, hundreds if not thousands of lives have already been lost since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The true extent won’t be known until long after the fighting ends, but videos and images shared on social media of Ukrainian cities blown apart by Russian rockets will equate to a large number of civilian deaths.
Even a United Nations Security Council meeting on March 7 stated there have been ‘targeted attacks on civilians’ in recent days.
That’s not to mention claims from Ukrainian officials that humanitarian corridors set up for civilians to flee have also been targeted by Russian forces.
Countries in the western world claim to be the guardians of democracy, but what are they really protecting when a country of more than 40 million people in Europe is invaded and western leaders do little more than send weapons and fly Ukrainian flags?
NATO is the world’s most powerful military alliance and anyone wielding that kind of power has a moral responsibility to use it for good.
That can be achieved by implementing a no fly zone above Ukraine to prevent more families becoming victims of Putin’s bombs.
It is the thing which would do the most to help protect civilians who are being killed for wanting the right to choose their country’s future in terms of EU and NATO membership.
Ukrainian bodies and cities are currently the only thing between Russia and the rest of Europe, and Russian President Vladimir Putin almost certainly has plans to go further.
An article published in Byline Times reported that US military officials predicted ten years ago that Russia wants to ‘consolidate control’ of its former Soviet Union lands.
That puts the Baltic states, as well as NATO members Poland and Slovakia next on the list.
NATO has implemented no fly zones before, so the move would not be unprecedented.
This was the case in Bosnia in 1993 when it was used to protect against air attacks from Bosian-Serb forces.
It was used more recently in Libya in 2011 to prevent atrocities being committed against the population by the government.
Reports coming from the journalists on the ground in Ukraine suggest the same is happening now.
Some argue that NATO intervention will escalate the conflict further and cause more suffering to Ukranians on their land which risks becoming a conflict zone between the world’s most powerful armies.
No one wants that to happen, but equally doing nothing is allowing Russia to shoot indiscriminately against innocent Ukranians who want nothing to do with the war.
Refusing to implement a no fly zone risks delaying a further attack by Russia against a NATO country or ally.
The world must stand up to Putin and act before Ukraine becomes unable to defend itself or the rest of Europe from the Russian army any longer.
The no fly zone should be communicated to the Russian command and enforced by neutral world powers.
It is the only way to prevent further catastrophe in Ukraine.
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