160904 Commons debating chamber

I don’t know what they hope to achieve.

Economic sanctions are more likely to get Russia to the table than any kind of no-fly zone – and even then it’s only a marginal possibility.

Russia’s strategy is all about luring the western powers into doing something they’ll regret, and it seems Andrew Mitchell is keen to help them in this.

But then, the former Plebgate minister should know better, having fallen all-too-easily prey to his baser instincts on one newsworthy occasion in the past.

By the time you read this, the debate will probably be over in any case.

One can only hope cooler heads than Mr Mitchell’s will have prevailed and better alternatives found.

Western air forces must be willing to confront Russian military jets over the skies of Syria to enforce a no-fly zone and protect the citizens of eastern Aleppo from a bombardment… UK MPs will be told by a former cabinet minister in an emergency three-hour Commons debate on Tuesday.

The intervention by Andrew Mitchell, the former international development secretary, and the granting of the debate itself, will force the UK’s Foreign Office to set out how it intends to respond after Russia’s veto of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in eastern Aleppo. The west has been criticised for lacking any leverage over Russia in Syria.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mitchell said: “What we are saying is very clear. No one wants to see a firefight with Russia, no one wants to shoot down a Russian plane.

“But what we do say is that the international community has an avowed responsibility to protect and that protection must be exerted. If that means confronting Russian air power defensively, on behalf of the innocent people on the ground who we are trying to protect, then we should do that.”

The Commons Speaker granted Tuesday’s unusual three-hour emergency debate to give MPs their first chance to discuss the case for a no-fly zone and for fresh punitive measures against Russia, including tougher economic sanctions and action in the international criminal courts.

Source: West must confront Russia over Aleppo, emergency Commons debate to hear | Politics | The Guardian


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