ALISTER Jack has been accused of “pathetic and patronising politicking” after he said Nicola Sturgeon’s comments regarding a no fly zone over Ukraine were “naive”.

The First Minister had said in a broadcast interview on Wednesday that a no fly zone over the besieged country should not be ruled out by Western leaders.

Sturgeon explained that although she “understands and shares” the concerns about direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO, a no fly zone and other options should be “considered on a daily basis”.

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On Thursday, Scotland Secretary Alister Jack called the FM’s comments “utterly irresponsible” and “completely naive” in an interview with the BBC.

The First Minister’s team were quick to counter the claims and said the Tory MP’s comments were “patronising”.

Speaking to the BBC, Jack was asked if a no fly zone was an option on the table.

He responded: “No. I think her remarks are utterly irresponsible.

“I think that they show total naivety to the situation. It is not something that is under review, we're very clear.

“At Cabinet on Tuesday, we had the Chief of Defence Staff presented to us. The Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Defense are absolutely clear that we would not be creating or managing a no fly zone over Ukraine.”

Pressed on why a no fly zone wouldn’t be brought in despite that’s what Ukraine saying they need, Jack said that a NATO jet going into direct conflict with a Russian aircraft would escalate the conflict into “World War Three”.

“That simply is not going to happen,” he added.

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In response to the comments made by Jack, the First Minister’s spokesman said she was not advocating for a no-fly zone. 

He said: “We are very well aware of what our partners have said about that.

“At the same time, the FM has made clear that going forward things have to be potentially on the table as the situation evolves.

“But we are not in any way blind to the risks of escalation which various people have talked about.

The National:

Jack said the FM's comments were "naive" and "irresponsible"

“You possibly heard the US Secretary of State [Antony Blinken] yesterday speaking about this in Washington and he was very clear, as indeed the Prime Minister and others have been, about the risk involved. So that’s the position.

“The FM is not calling for or advocating a no-fly zone.”

Asked about Jack’s comments about Sturgeon not understanding the situation, the FM’s spokesman was scathing.

He said: “I think that to indulge in that kind of politicking round this is pretty pathetic, to be honest. The issues here are of such a magnitude that I don’t think that kind of base politicking is not where we need to be.

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“It sounds pretty patronising stuff from the Secretary of State and he should reflect on that.”

He denied Sturgeon being both against and open to a no-fly zone was a “muddle”.

On Wednesday, Sturgeon had said that Putin was “not acting in any way rationally or defensively”.

She added: “We have a situation right now, where perhaps the only thing nuclear weapons are deterring is the ability to properly and directly help Ukraine.

“So all of these things must be considered on a daily basis, right now, because we cannot, the world cannot stand by and watch Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty extinguish.

“That would be morally wrong from a Ukraine’s perspective, but the implications of that for the rest of us in terms of the values we hold dear would be severe too.”