Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday slammed NATO as being “weak” and “underconfident” for refusing to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine as his country fights in “the worst invasion since World War II.”
In a Facebook video shared and translated by Axios on Friday, Zelensky said Ukrainians have fought fearlessly against Russians invading their country — and will continue to — but have been thrown into “nine days of darkness” without assistance from NATO.
“Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine,” Zelensky said in an emotional video address.
The president urged NATO to think about “all those people who will die because of you.”
“Because of your weakness, because of your disunity, all the alliance has managed to do so far is to carry fifty tons of diesel fuel for Ukraine,” he said. “Is this the alliance you were building?”
A no-fly zone, implemented to prohibit enemy aircraft from flying into a region and attacking, would cut off Russian air support and blunt the advance of Russian troops toward Kyiv.
The Biden administration, along with the NATO security alliance, has so far rebuffed Ukrainian calls to establish a no-fly zone over fears that it could spark a direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia.
“It would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and prompting a potential direct war with Russia, the exact step that we want to avoid,” press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOn The Money — Push to block Russian imports hits wall Overnight Energy & Environment — White House says no to Russia oil ban Here are the Russians sanctioned by the US MORE told reporters on Thursday.
In his video address, Zelensky disputed the fact that it would result in a direct confrontation between NATO countries and Russia, calling it “self-hypnosis.”
“I do not know how you can protect and whether you can protect NATO countries,” Zelensky said. “You will not be able to buy us off with liters of fuel for liters of our blood.”
NATO is adamantly opposed to dragging out a large-scale war in Europe.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said “the only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukrainian airspace, and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes.”
“We understand the desperation, but we also believe that if we did that, we would end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe,” the NATO chief continued.