A top military official in at least one NATO country is flatly ruling out the idea of the alliance imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying such a move would be a declaration of war with Russia.
As Russian military airpower has attacked targets on the ground, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has demanded the U.S. and other Western nations to enact a no-fly zone along with other measures.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace put that idea down decisively, saying it would be putting “British fighter jets directly against Russian fighter jets,” according to Politico.
“NATO would have to effectively declare war on Russia because that’s what you would do," he added.
Retired Marine Col. Mark Cancian called a no-fly zone a non-starter.
"If the United States or NATO wanted to impose that, they would be going to war with Russia," Cancian told MSNBC Friday. "They would have to send over massive amounts of aircraft. They would tangle with Russian aircraft. There would be combat between NATO and the United States and Russia. That would be a war."
Cancian added that it could also cross the red line Putin drew this week for other nations to stay out of the conflict, with many interpreting it as the Russian leader threatening to use nuclear weapons.
"Whether he's serious or not, you can argue. But I don't know that we really want to find out," Cancian said.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby reportedly said that a no-fly zone would be a NATO decision.
Ukraine is not one of the 30 members of NATO.