Estonia Becomes First NATO Member to Call for No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine

Estonia has become the first NATO member to call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the Baltic nation's parliament passed a resolution urging EU states and United Nations members to "take immediate steps to establish a no-fly zone in order to prevent massive civilian casualties in Ukraine."

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has repeatedly asked for a no-fly zone, but his request has been rejected by governments concerned about escalating the conflict with Russia.

A no-fly zone would lead to jets from NATO member states patrolling the skies above Ukraine and potentially shooting down any Russian plane that flouts the ban—which could trigger a direct confrontation between nuclear powers and perhaps even spark a world war.

Most of the alliance's 30 members, including the U.S., are uncomfortable with such an escalation and President Joe Biden has consistently ruled out the option of a no-fly zone.

But Zelensky has warned that NATO might be dragged into the war regardless.

​​"If you don't close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian rockets fall on your territory, on NATO territory," Zelensky said in a video address released on Monday, after Russian forces launched airstrikes on a military training center in Yavoriv, near the border with Poland—a NATO member.

President Vladimir Putin has said any declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be taken by Moscow as "participation in the armed conflict."

Last week, Warsaw's ambassador to Kyiv, Bartosz Cichocki, told Polish broadcaster TVN24 that the closure of the airspace over Ukraine could end the war faster and save lives.

Estonia, which borders Russia, has now gone further with its parliament's call for a no-fly zone.

A Fragile Region

The fear that Moscow's influence could spill over its borders and towards the territories once occupied by the Soviet Union has been seeping through Eastern Europe since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Western Balkan leaders have been warning against Putin's goal to destabilize the whole of Europe by undermining the independence of its neighbors.

Kosovan and Bosnian politicians are now asking the EU and NATO to fast-track membership applications from countries in the region in order to challenge Russia, according to a report in The Guardian.

Calls for a Tougher Trade Embargo

The Estonian parliamentary resolution also called for additional sanctions on Russia and Belarus, for its part in supporting Moscow in the aggression against Ukraine. The Estonian parliament urged "a comprehensive trade embargo on the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, which would restrict the capability of the aggressor to wage war."

Estonia is also supporting Ukraine's push for EU membership and asking for a roadmap toward NATO membership for Kyiv to be detailed soon.