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Russia Ukraine conflict

NATO united in denying Ukraine a no-fly zone despite Zelenskyy’s calls: Stoltenberg

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NATO countries are “united” in holding firm on their stance of not imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s repeated calls for one, chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

“Allies are united both in providing support to Ukraine, to support Ukraine to uphold the right for self defense. But Allies are also united when it comes to that NATO should not deploy forces on the ground or in the airspace of Ukraine. Because we have a responsibility to ensure that this conflict, this war, doesn't escalate beyond Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

He added: “We see death, we see destruction, we see human suffering in Ukraine. But this can become even worse if NATO took actions that actually turned this into a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia. So Allies are united when it comes to the issue of how to provide support to Ukraine.”

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“[Member countries’ foreign] ministers addressed this today, they reinforced the message of the importance of providing support with equipment, advanced equipment, air defence systems, anti-tank weapons and many other types of support, but no NATO deployment of air or ground capabilities in Ukraine and that's the united position from NATO Allies,” Stoltenberg stressed.

Zelenskyy repeated his call to impose a no-fly zone over his country to shield it from Russia’s aerial bombardment during a video address to US Congress.

“Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death. For thousands of people. Russian troops have already fired nearly a thousand missiles at Ukraine. Countless bombs. They use drones to kill more precisely… And we ask for a response… To establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine is to save people,” Zelenskyy said.

He also offered an alternative if the West wasn’t willing to impose a no-fly zone: “If that's too much, we offer an alternative. You know what defense systems we need. C-300 and other similar systems. You know how much depends on the battlefield on the ability to use aircraft. Powerful, strong aircraft.”

“’I have a dream’ - these words are known to each of you. Today I can say: I have a necessity. The necessity to protect our sky.”

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