Islamabad, 5 March 2022 (TDI): A no-fly zone is a region designated by a military authority over which certain aircraft are not allowed to fly. A no-fly zone is also known as an air exclusion zone (AEZ) or no-flight zone (NFZ).

No-fly zones are generally established in the opponent’s territory during a conflict. Typically, they are meant to restrict a country’s military aircraft from operating in the no-fly zone.

Such zones, in essence, are aerial demilitarized zone. Hence military action is utilized by the enforcing state in case of violation. Moreover, terms of the NFZ might comprise pre-emptive attacks to stop potential infringements.

Likewise, they might prompt a response aimed at the violating aircraft, or even reconnaissance without any force. To ensure the NFZ, sometimes anti-aircraft defenses are also set up, even in civilian areas.

The notion of no-fly zones is a relatively contemporary concept. It was introduced during the 1990s. Though airspace restrictions were first introduced in World War I. The UN Security Council can authorize to put up an NFZ on legal grounds.

They can be differentiated from conventional airpower missions because of their coercive takeover of another state’s airspace only, as they are employed to attain on-ground objectives within the target country.

NFZ in the context of Russia and Ukraine

A no-fly zone in the context of a conflict like the one in Ukraine means an area in where Russian airplanes or fighter jects specifically, will not be allowed to fly. This would be for preventing them from carrying out airstrikes against Ukraine.


As Russia completely took over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, the latter urged the world during the UNSC emergency meeting to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

However, today, in a Ministerial Meeting of the NATO Foreign Ministers, the Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg officially rejected Ukraine’s demand by claiming that doing so would increase escalation and drag other European countries into the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked for “immediate closure of the skies over Ukraine”. Referring to Russia’s control over the largest Nuclear Power Plant in Europe, he urged the NATO countries that “Radiation does not know where the Russian border is.”