Home / News / World /  US to not engage in hostilities in Ukraine nor establish no-fly zone: Pentagon

The United States will neither engage in hostilities in Ukraine nor establish a no-fly zone over the country, said Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin. 

"Well, the President's [Joe Biden] been very clear about the fact that we won't have troops engaged in combat with Russia and Ukraine in order to affect or put into place a no fly zone," Austin said.

"We'd have to control the skies and that would mean that we'd have to engage Russian aircraft we'd also have to take out Russian and aircraft and aircraft systems in Ukraine, in Belarus, and also in Russia. So that would mean that we're in combat with Russia. And these are two nuclear powered countries. That nobody wants to see. It's not good for the region. It's not good for the world," Austin added. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeatedly requested this throughout the 3-week-old invasion: Western creation of a no-fly zone to block the Russian warplanes now attacking Ukraine's cities and other civilian targets.

“Is this too much to ask," so that “Russia would not be able to terrorize our cities?" the Ukrainian leader asked US lawmakers listening, rapt, by video.

The US has joined NATO in flatly rejecting creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which is not a member of the NATO bloc and is not protected by its defense pact.

Setting up such a zone would likely entail Western air forces directly engaging with Russia's military.

That would greatly increase the chances of a broader war between Russia and NATO members, something Biden says he's not willing to risk for Ukraine. So would providing Ukraine with MiG fighter jets and a US or NATO base to fly them out of, something else that the US and NATO have said no to.

Notably, however, Zelenskyy also presented another option to the no-fly zone.

“If this is too much to ask, we offer you an alternative," Zelenskyy said, leveraging the tougher ask to push for an easier one. He then asked for the Soviet-era S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, or “similar systems."

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