Mar 5, 2022 - World

Putin: No-fly zone would be seen as "participation in the armed conflict"

People cross a destroyed bridge as they evacuate the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, during heavy shelling and bombing on March 5, 2022,
People cross a destroyed bridge as they evacuate the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, during heavy shelling and bombing on Saturday. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that Moscow will consider a declaration of Ukraine as a no-fly zone by any third-party as "participation in the armed conflict."

Driving the news: Russia would view "any move in this direction" as an intervention that "will pose a threat to our service members," Putin said Saturday, speaking at a meeting with female pilots, AP reports.

  • "That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are," Putin said.

The big picture: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Western leaders to impose a "no-fly zone" over Ukraine, but the U.S. and other major powers have ruled out doing so as it could trigger a widespread war with nuclear power Russia.

  • "It would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and causing ... a potential direct war with Russia — something we want to avoid," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday in ruling out creating a NFZ.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said it would not enforce a NFZ.
  • "We understand the desperation but we also believe that if we did that (impose a no-fly zone) we would end up with something that could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe involving [many] more countries and much more suffering," Stoltenberg said.

Go deeper: Why Ukraine wants a no-fly zone — but is unlikely to get one

Go deeper