White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the United States would not be assisting with any attempts to create a “no-fly zone” over Ukrainian airspace.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on President Joe Biden, urging him to consider helping to create a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, saying, “If the West does this, Ukraine will defeat the aggressor with much less blood.”
Zelensky also noted that the sanctions imposed by the United States and other western nations were moving things in the right direction, but he said that more help was needed.
“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,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine can beat the aggressor. We are proving this to the world. But our allies must also do their part.”
Zelensky is calling on Biden to impose a 'no-fly zone'.
"If the US were to do this, our fighter jets would potentially have to shoot down Russian jets," said Rep. @SaraJacobsCA. "This would mean the United States declaring war on Russia."https://t.co/tkbNPCLIRM
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) February 28, 2022
Psaki spoke with NBC White House correspondents Peter Alexander and Kristin Welker early on Monday, and she argued that American assistance in such an endeavor would amount to American military involvement — which President Joe Biden has already said is off the table — and as such, would be an undeniable escalation of hostilities between the United States and Russia.
“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. That would potentially put us in a place in a military conflict with Russia,” Psaki explained, adding, “That is not something the president wants to do.”
Psaki went on to stress the point that the Biden administration had already committed to keeping American troops out of a direct military conflict with Russia, saying, “He is not sending U.S. Forces — men and women who fight for our military — into Ukraine to fight a war with Russia. 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.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby concurred with Psaki during a Monday press briefing, saying that the United States had no plans to assist with the implementation of a “no-fly zone” over Ukrainian airspace.
.@CarlaBabbVOA: "Now that we've seen civilian targets that have been hit, is the U.S. considering installing a no fly zone in Ukrainian air space?"
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby: "No." pic.twitter.com/f4aWApejiA
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 28, 2022
Voice of America’s Pentagon reporter and anchor Carla Babb pressed Kirby on the issue, pointing to reports that there have been a number of civilian casualties as Ukraine continues to sustain Russian attacks both from the air and on the ground.
“Now that we’ve seen civilian targets that have been hit, is the U.S. considering installing a no fly zone in Ukrainian air space?” she asked.
A simple “no” was Kirby’s response.