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German lawmakers suggest allies could protect sky over western Ukraine from NATO soil

by Martin Fornusek May 11, 2024 10:38 PM 2 min read
A German Patriot system on an open field on Feb. 18, 2023, in Zamosc, Poland. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)
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Some German lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties supported the idea of allies defending the airspace over western Ukraine from NATO territory, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported on May 11.

FAZ wrote that some experts like Nico Lange from the Munich Security Conference or Lieutenant General Heinrich Brauss, a former NATO deputy secretary general, had suggested shooting down Russian missiles over Ukraine's border regions from Poland and Romania.

Polish officials have also mentioned the possibility, but no concrete decisions have been presented.

"Defending the airspace over Ukraine from Poland and Romania should not be ruled out in the long term," said Anton Hofreiter from the co-ruling Green Party.

The lawmaker nevertheless added that the matter is currently "not under discussion" as allies focus on supplying additional defense aid to Kyiv.

Berlin has proven itself a leader in air defense support for Ukraine, launching an allied initiative aimed at securing additional air defense systems and pledging its third Patriot to Kyiv.

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Agnieszka Brugger, Hofreiter's colleague from the Green Party, also said it would be correct to "station air defense systems at the borders of the neighboring countries so that the western parts of Ukraine can also be protected."

Roderich Kiesewetter from the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) commented that Western countries could shoot down Russian unmanned aerial vehicles launched at Ukraine.

"This would relieve the burden on the Ukrainian air defense and allow it to protect the front," Kiesewetter said, comparing it to when the U.S. and other Western countries protected Israel's airspace without becoming a party to the conflict.

Marcus Faber from the ruling coalition's Free Democratic Party (FDP) also concurred that, in principle, the "airspace over the Ukrainian border regions" could be "protected by air defenses on NATO territory."

Faber noted, however, that air defense systems and missiles are already in short supply, and long-term munition supplies must be ensured.

"Under these conditions, I think it's possible," Faber added.

Any form of involvement of Western forces in the Russo-Ukrainian war remains highly controversial.

When French President Emmanuel Macron said that the deployment of Western troops should not be ruled out, several leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, emphatically rejected the option.

Macron says he would consider sending troops to Ukraine in case of Russian breakthrough, Ukrainian request
French President Emmanuel Macron added that such conditions did not currently exist.
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