‘It would mean the US military shooting down Russian planes’: Psaki slaps down calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine as Zelensky pleads with US to impose one and says ‘our allies must also do their part’
- Psaki rejected the idea of a U.S.-imposed no-fly zone over Ukraine
- U.S. has used the tactic in Iraq and over Serbia in the 1990s – but not against a nuclear adversary
- Psaki said it ‘would essentially mean the U.S. military would be shooting down planes – Russian planes’
- Ukrainian President Zelensky reportedly asked President Biden for a no-fly zone over ‘significant parts’ of the country
- Russian President Putin ordered his country’s nuclear forces on high alert Sunday, raising tensions
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki rejected calls Monday for the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine by citing the risk it could draw the U.S. in a direct conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.
Psaki was asked about the proposal in an interview with MSNBC following reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had directly asked President Joe Biden to impose one. She ruled out the idea as a risky escalation.
‘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. That is definitely escalatory, and would potentially put us in a place in a military conflict with Russia. That is not something the president wants to do.’
‘Those are the reasons it’s not a good idea,’ she added when pressed.
Her comment came on a day when the U.S. and western allies continued to take steps intended to harm Russia in other ways – up to and including pledges of defensive weapons.
‘Those are the reasons it’s not a good idea.’ Jen Psaki rejected the idea of a U.S.-imposed no-fly zone over Ukraine
President Biden on Friday instructed the State Department to release an additional $350 million in military aide to Ukraine. State said anti-aircraft weapons were included.
Germany overcame its reticence to sending weaponry to war zones when it announced it would send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine.
Russia has continued to hammer Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv, even as U.S. officials said its airspace remains contested.
Psaki made her comments to MSNBC amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine
US officials fear a growing number of civilian casualties amid Russia’s ongoing assault
It is still not entirely clear how allies will get the arms and ammunition inside Ukraine amid the massive Russian invasion.
A trainload of Czech equipment arrived Sunday, with another en route Monday, the AP reported.
Zelensky asked Biden to impose a no-fly zone over ‘significant parts’ of the country, Axios reported.
Zelensky, said in a statement to the publication provided by an advisor: ‘If the West does this, Ukraine will defeat the aggressor with much less blood.’
He said U.S. and European sanctions ‘are heading in the right direction,’ but that ‘In addition to disconnecting the Russian Central Bank from SWIFT [the international banking system] and providing more Stingers and anti-tank weapons, we need the West to impose a no-fly zone over significant parts of Ukraine.’
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