As Ukraine attempts to fend off an invasion of its sovereign territory by Russian troops, there have begun to be calls for an internationally enforced “no-fly zone” over Ukrainian airspace to counter Russia’s air superiority over the battlefield.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, however, just nixed that “escalatory” move as one that would inevitably pit U.S. forces directly against Russian forces — something that President Joe Biden has repeatedly insisted he has no intention to do, the Washington Examiner reported.
Instead, the U.S. will continue to provide Ukraine with funding and defensive weaponry while simultaneously kneecapping Russia financially with severe economic sanctions.
Zelensky pleads for imposition of “no-fly zone” over Ukrainian airspace
Axios reported exclusively Monday that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was among those who were calling upon the U.S. and its NATO allies to impose a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine in order to halt the devastating air attacks launched by Russia’s Air Force.
“The sanctions are heading in the right direction,” Zelensky told the outlet of the international response to Russia’s invasion. “In addition to disconnecting the Russian Central Bank from SWIFT and providing more Stingers and anti-tank weapons, we need the West to impose a no-fly zone over significant parts of Ukraine.”
“Ukraine can beat the aggressor. We are proving this to the world. But our allies must also do their part,” he added. “If the West does this, Ukraine will defeat the aggressor with much less blood.”
Psaki says “no-fly zone” over Ukraine is “definitely escalatory”
According to Mediaite, the request from Zelensky came up in an interview Psaki held Monday morning with the two White House correspondents for NBC News, Peter Alexander and Kristen Welker, about the administration’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“What that would require is implementation by the U.S. military. It would essentially mean the U.S. military would be shooting down planes, Russian planes,” Psaki said of the “no-fly zone” idea.
“That is definitely escalatory. That would potentially put us in a place in a military conflict with Russia,” she continued. “That is not something the president wants to do.”
“He is not sending U.S. Forces — men and women who fight for our military — into Ukraine to fight a war with Russia,” Psaki added of President Biden. “We are not going to have a military war with Russia with U.S. troops, and he thinks it’s vitally important, and first and foremost important, to be direct with the public about that.”
NATO says no to Ukraine “no-fly zone”
Axios noted that it wasn’t just the Biden administration that shot down Zelensky’s call for a “no-fly zone” over his country, as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also ruled out doing so in his own interview on MSNBC on Monday.
“We have no intentions of moving into Ukraine neither on the ground or in the airspace,” the NATO leader said. “We have a responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t spiral out of control that escalates even further into concern for full-fledged war in Europe involving NATO allies.”