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NATO should shoot down Russian airstrikes on Ukraine: former NATO chief

NATO countries should use air defenses based in Eastern Europe to neutralize Russian missiles and drones targeting Ukraine, a former NATO chief has said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary general between 2009 and 2014, told British newspaper i Paper that interceptor missiles from neighboring NATO countries such as Poland and Romania could shoot down Russian airstrikes targeting Ukraine.

Some NATO members, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, deployed fighter jets to help Israeli air defense intercept Iranian drones and missiles earlier this year.

And the military alliance could do “exactly the same thing” to help Ukraine shoot down Russian drones and missiles, Rasmussen told the outlet.

He went further, suggesting that NATO’s air and missile defense systems could be connected to Ukraine’s, according to the outlet.

Rasmussen said the effort could protect western Ukraine “much more” effectively, protect its defense industry and jumpstart its reconstruction, while avoiding sending NATO troops to the country, according to the media outlet. .

Most NATO members have so far been reluctant to send troops to Ukraine or target Russian airstrikes from their own territory.

Instead, Ukraine’s allies have sent it nearly $118 billion in direct military aid since March, including air defense systems like the U.S. ATACMS, which have been used by Ukraine with a devastating effect.

Despite this, Ukraine’s air defense interception rate fell from 46 percent over the past six months to 30 percent last month, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The outlet reported, based on Ukrainian data, that this rate was 73% over a six-month period last year.

Ukraine’s increasingly strained air defense capabilities have allowed Russia to deploy more reconnaissance drones, improve its ability to launch HIMARS-style strikes, and destroy its power infrastructure.

In response, the Pentagon said it would “ship” Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine as part of its latest military program, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spent months begging for them.

Ukraine’s allies have more than 100 Patriot air defense systems they could use, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Washington Post last month.

And while some countries, like Spain, send theirs, others refuse, saying they need them to protect their own airspace.


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