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Letter: Why We Need to Support a No-fly Zone in Ukraine

Published on: 7 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 7 Mar, 2022

From: Dr Peter Shaw

Lecturer in Astronautics

The news that we see on the TV about the war in Ukraine is horrific. However, what is even worse is when you look at the streams of posts on social media platforms like Twitter.

Albeit some of the content is not verified, fake, prone to bias and propaganda, there is a lot of it that is raw and is showing what the conflict is really like. Hashtag words like #Ukraine, #Russia, #War and see for yourself. However, I strongly suggest you do not view these with minors around.

Why do I encourage this? Because I want to see the war come to an end and we in Guildford need to realise, we can’t – in my opinion – just hope it stops with our best well wishes. We can’t look the other way. We can’t ignore it.

Donations and sanctions help in the long term, but civilians and human beings are dying today. War in Europe at this scale has not occurred for a very long time and the invasion of another European country is a wound to us all, our collective ideals and way of life. Living in a democracy is a privilege which we should appreciate.

Speaking as a father of two young children and an ex-serviceman in the reserves, I fully understand the consequences of what I am about to suggest, but as a nation, we need to collectively show some grit and determination. The Ukrainians have asked for a “no-fly Zone”, and I think Britain should be leading on this. Here are my reasons:

  • I wish with all my heart that the Ukrainians can fight off the Russians without a No-Fly zone and we avoid the possibility of a nuclear war being triggered, but despite the plucky resistance, I don’t think this will happen, although I hope I am wrong.
  • Putin cannot afford to retreat and so will throw everything at it. Already we see indiscriminate shelling of towns and cities across the country. All analysis suggests that Putin will just use more horrific weapons (larger yield missiles and artillery), to bomb civilians and the nation into submission.
  • A no-fly zone will force the Russians back to their own border, be helpful in cutting off supply lines and decisively stop the war quickly and prevent an escalation in civilian deaths.

Ultimately a no-fly zone means committing our air force – as we already should be doing in my opinion due to the Budapest memorandum – and raises the potential of starting a nuclear war. But I do not see it as black and white as that.

A better question in my opinion to ask is – if Putin wins do you think he will stop at the borders of Ukraine and NATO? I don’t think he will, as he has a desire to reconnect Kaliningrad and that would require moving through or invading a NATO country.

Putin is not making logical rational decisions and he is not surrounded by a robust cabinet who are willing to question his decisions.

So why risk a nuclear war? Because it is the right thing to do. We need to honour past treaties; we need to stand up against authoritarian states and we need to stop fellow human beings from being killed. Standing on the sidelines and watching a deliberate car crash in slow motion is not right, no matter how big the bully is.

Whether you agree or not, I encourage all of you to contact our local MP Angela Richardson. It is only by us sending letters and communicating that she can get a real feeling of the broad opinions of her constituents.

 

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test One Response to Letter: Why We Need to Support a No-fly Zone in Ukraine

  1. Kevin Smith Reply

    March 13, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    What a great letter from Dr Shaw. I totally agree with him.

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