Russia warned that any country offering its airfields to Ukraine’s air force attacking Russian targets will be considered as having entered the conflict, state news agency TASS reported on Sunday.
“The use of the airfield networks of neighbouring countries to base Ukrainian military aircraft and their subsequent use against the Russian armed forces may be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict,” Russian defense military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
So far, the US and the EU have imposed crushing and wide-ranging sanctions on Russia to pressure it into ceasing its military campaign against Ukraine, but have shied away from any action that can be construed by Moscow as entering into direct confrontation.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeated asked NATO to impose a no fly zone over Ukraine to help it protect its skies from Russian air strikes, but the Atlantic alliance refused over concerns of being dragged into direct conflict with Russia.
The Russian official added that Moscow's forces destroyed “practically all combat-ready aviation of the Kiev regime.”
The UN also said the Russian invasion, now in its 11th day, has uprooted more than 1.5 million people, describing it as the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Sunday that more than 360 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, in addition to 759 injured civilians. The organization estimated that real figures are likely to be “considerably higher.”
Images of destructions due to Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities has attracted international condemnation, and the International Criminal Court said it has launched an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Moscow in Ukraine.