US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the establishment of a no-fly zone in Ukraine by the United States and its NATO allies could lead to a “full-fledged war in Europe.” He said Washington would continue to work with its allies to provide Ukrainians with the means to defend themselves from Russian aggression.
“The only way to actually implement something like a no-fly zone is to send NATO planes into Ukrainian airspace and to shoot down Russian planes, and that could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe. President Biden has been clear that we are not going to get into a war with Russia,” Blinken said during a news conference Friday in Brussels, where he is meeting with European allies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“But we are going to tremendous lengths with allies and partners to provide Ukrainians with the means to, to effectively defend themselves, and of course, we're seeing every single day their extraordinary heroism, as well as very, very real results in what they're doing to achieve that,” he said.
“We are looking every day at what technologies, what capacities we can effectively deliver to, to Ukraine to defend itself, and that's an ongoing conversation, literally happening on a daily basis both with Ukraine and government officials, as well as among allies and partners. And so, the main focus is on making sure that anything we provide can be used, used effectively and in a timely way,” Blinken said.
More background: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been calling for NATO and Western allies to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion and aerial bombardment of its cities.
European Council President Charles Michel said on Thursday that enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine is a NATO decision, but that it would be “one step too far” with a “real risk of escalation and a real risk of a possible third international war.”
NATO’s chief said Friday that a no-fly zone over Ukraine is not an option being considered by the alliance.
“We’ve agreed that we should not have NATO planes operating over Ukrainian airspace or NATO troops on Ukrainian territory,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference in Brussels.