KYIV (Reuters): Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lashed NATO on Friday for ruling out a no-fly zone over his country saying the Western military alliance knew further Russian aggression was likely.
Earlier Friday, NATO rejected Ukraine’s request to impose a no-fly zone to halt Russia’s bombing, but Western allies did warn President Vladimir Putin of fresh sanctions if he does not stop the war.
“Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a video published by the presidency.
“We believe that the NATO countries themselves have created a narrative that the closing of the skies over Ukraine would provoke direct Russian aggression against NATO.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg had said the alliance would not intervene in the conflict over fears of a direct clash with Moscow that could spiral into a wider conflict.
“The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukraine’s airspace, and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes,” Stoltenberg said after the urgent meeting.
“If we did that, we’ll end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe, involving many more countries and causing much more human suffering.”
But Zelensky insisted that the NATO gathering was a “weak summit, a confused summit”.
“All the people who die starting today will also die because of you. Because of your weakness, because of your disconnection,” he said.
“Today the leadership of the alliance gave the green light for further bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages, refusing to make a no-fly zone.”