- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Former NATO Secretary General Cannot Rule Out Bloc Sending Fighter Jets Against Russia

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoAnders Fogh Rasmussen (file)
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (file) - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2022
According to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, sending NATO jets to protect Ukrainian airspace means being ready to shoot down Russian planes, which will "undeniably" mean war between NATO and Russia. However, Europeans must be ready for this, he stressed, citing "the future of democracy".
There is a real possibility that NATO will end up in a war against Russia, the alliance's former Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has claimed.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz previously outright refused to send fighter jets to assist Ukraine against Russia's special operation the West has proclaimed an “invasion”. Nor did other European members of NATO, or the US voice any desire to escalate the conflict with Russia by sending their own troops or aircraft to Ukraine.
In late February, Russia claimed complete control over Ukraine's airspace. President Vladimir Putin said any nation that imposes a no-fly zone would be considered an enemy combatant. Nevertheless, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen wouldn't rule out NATO going to war.

"If we send our planes, then it's to protect Ukrainian airspace, and then we must be ready to shoot down Russian planes. It will undeniably mean war between NATO and Russia", Anders Fogh Rasmussen told TV2.

Per Rasmussen, Europeans must be ready for this, because the future of democracy on the continent is at stake.
"I think that if it is to be a deterrent to Putin, then we shouldn't rule out anything. And I belong to those who say that we must keep Putin in maximum insecurity", Rasmussen mused.
According to Rasmussen, the West "cannot afford" to allow Russia to win.
So far, the alliance has supported Ukraine and its defence in other ways – with financial allotments and tens of thousands of arms, including anti-tank weapons and firearms. As per Rasmussen, should Russia interpret the West's assistance as a declaration of war, NATO would ultimately prevail, due to “defence investments ten times larger than Russia's”.
To counter Russia's special operation in Ukraine launched to protect the People's Republics of Donbass and demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, the West has imposed a broad spectrum of sanctions ranging from consumer goods to banking operations. The EU, where some members are heavily reliant on Russian gas and oil, is currently discussing means of reaching energy independence.
According to Rasmussen, energy from Russia must be boycotted completely – and better today than tomorrow.

"It is important that we cut off Russia from oil and gas revenues as soon as possible. I have been in contact with various players in that area, and my assessment is that the West can do without it in a year. Of course, it will be much more expensive to find elsewhere", Rasmussen concluded.

Incidentally, it was during Rasmussen's tenure (2009-2014) that NATO invaded oil-rich Libya, plunging the country into chaos, with little to no government control and a plethora of warring factions fighting it out.
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