Zelensky Says NATO Should Shoot Down Russian Missiles Over Ukraine

He dismissed the risk of nuclear escalation

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking NATO countries to shoot down Russian missiles over Ukrainian territory, dismissing concerns of potential nuclear escalation.

“So my question is, what’s the problem? Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defense? Yes. Is it an attack on Russia? No. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So, what’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue,” Zelensky said in an interview published by The New York Times on Tuesday. “Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine.”

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have expressed envy of Israel after the US and the UK helped intercept Iranian missiles and drones that were fired at Israeli territory. “This is what we saw in Israel. Not even on such a large scale,” Zelensky said.

The interview appears to be the first time Zelensky has publicly asked for direct NATO intervention since he pleaded for a no-fly zone over Ukraine in the early days of the war. The Times also recently reported that Ukraine has asked NATO countries to send troops to Ukrainian territory for training.

Zelensky also asked for permission from the US and other NATO countries to use their weapons on Russian territory, which also risks a major escalation. Moscow recently warned the UK that if Ukraine used British weapons on Russian territory, Russian forces would target UK military sites in Ukraine “and beyond.”

Zelensky said Ukraine’s inability to use US-provided missiles on Russian territory gives Russia a “huge advantage” in fighting near the border, which has increased since Russia launched its new Kharkiv offensive.

The Ukrainian leader dismissed concerns about escalation altogether and criticized Western countries for their approach to Russia. “There are no risks of escalation. Escalation has already occurred: Russia’s escalation against Ukraine,” he said.

“It’s like sanctions. They talk about the risk of economic escalation with Russia. This shows our partners are afraid, in principle, of completely severing relations with the Russian Federation,” Zelensky added.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.