(NewsNation) — In an emotional speech, Ukraine’s president said NATO shoulders part of the blame for Russia’s continued advance in his country and further deaths are on their hands.
“All the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you, because of your weakness, because of your lack of unity,” he said Friday night. “The alliance has given the green light to the bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages by refusing to create a no-fly zone.”
NATO countries, including the United States, have rejected a no-fly zone because they fear it would set off a world war.
The step would require NATO planes to shoot down any Russian aircraft that enter the country, which would essentially dare Russian President Vladimir Putin to continue his invasion. Assuming he did, the first weapon fired at a NATO plane could trigger the alliance’s defense pact among its 30 member countries.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so the pact does not apply to them.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said World War III would involve nuclear weapons, though he promised his country would not allow a provocation to “unbalance” them in an interview Wednesday.
A no-fly zone that only encompasses part of Ukraine, such as the western half near Poland’s border, has been discussed but likewise rejected.
Ret. Gen Phil Breedlove, once the supreme allied commander of NATO, told NewsNation Ukraine should push for a humanitarian no-fly zone.
“It’s not perfect, and there still are those tripwires that could lead to bigger conflict,” Breedlove said on “On Balance with Leland Vittert.” “But it’s the kind of zone where you inform and you talk to your opponent and say, ‘We will not fire unless fired upon, we will not fire on you. We’re here to protect those that are trying to get humanitarian relief in.'”
The two sides agreed to a “humanitarian corridor” this week that provided an agreement on land similar to Breedlove’s proposal for the skies. Ukraine was guaranteed efforts to evacuate and help civilians in certain areas would not be impeded.
Still, Zelenskyy said his country has endured nine days of “darkness and evil” and believes NATO’s words of support have not been backed up by enough action.
“You will not be able to pay us off with liters of fuel for the liters of our blood shed for our common Europe,” Zelenskyy said.