On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with host George Stephanopoulos to discuss the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
During the segment, Stephanopoulos brought up the idea of a “no-fly zone,” which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked for from multiple nations.
Rubio responded, succinctly explaining the impact that the United States declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine would have — flying Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWAC) system planes over the country, shooting down Russian airplanes, and even taking out anti-aircraft systems.
“So basically a no-fly zone — if people understood what it means, it means World War III,” the senator said before noting that the U.S. can provide support in other ways.
Stephanopoulos then asked Rubio if he supports supplying Ukraine with fighter jets, to which the senator responded, “I do,” though he wondered about their ability to fly, given Russia’s anti-aircraft prowess.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 6, 2022
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were on that Zoom yesterday with President Zelensky. Are you and your colleagues now more open to a no-fly zone?
RUBIO: You know, the — look, a no-fly zone has become a catchphrase. I’m not sure a lot of people fully understand what that means. That means flying AWACs 24 hours a day. That means the willingness to shoot down and engage Russian airplanes in the sky. That means, frankly, you can’t put those planes up there unless you’re willing to knock out the anti-aircraft systems that the Russians have deployed — and not just in Ukraine, but in Russia and also in Belarus.
So basically a no-fly zone, if people understood what it means, it means World War III. It means starting World War III. So, I think there are a lot of things we can do to help Ukraine protect itself, both from air strikes and missile strikes, but I think people need to understand what a no-fly zone means. It’s not just — it’s not some rule you pass that everybody has to oblige by. It’s the willingness to shoot down the aircrafts of the Russian Federation, which is basically the beginning of World War III.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about this provision of fighter jets? We would provide the fighter jets to Poland, other Eastern European nations. They would send the jets they now have to Ukraine — do you support that?
RUBIO: I do. If that can be done, that would be great. I do have concerns about a couple things. And that is sort of, you know, can they actually fly them given the amount of anti-aircraft capabilities that the Russians possess and continue to have deployed in the region?
By the way, yesterday was a terrible day for the Russian air force. They’re losing — they don’t have air control either there. But, generally speaking, it’s something I’d be supportive of, and we should do what we can to help them.