Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday repeated his plea for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone to protect his increasingly beleaguered country after claiming Russia attacked Europe’s largest nuclear plant.
Russian forces allegedly seized the site overnight after a building at the complex was set ablaze during intense fighting with Ukrainian defenders, according to claims contained in multiple news agency reports.
The claimed attack on the Zaporizhzhia plant did not produce elevated radiation levels, AP reports.
Even as damage reports come in, Zelenskyy invoked the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion and fire to raise alarm about further Russia attacks as his country fought on alone.
The plant “could be like six Chernobyls. The Russian tanks knew what they were shelling … This is terror on an unprecedented level,” he said.
Any attempt by European air forces in general or NATO in particular to impose a no-fly zone would likely severely escalate the conflict despite Zelensky’s plea for Russian civilians to express outrage about the plant attack.
“Radiation does not know where the Russian border is,” he warned.
Zelensky’s no-fly zone call echoed one he made just 24-hours earlier and before the Russian nuclear station attack.
Speaking on Thursday he said NATO overhead protection would be the “most important step” as Ukraine faces “incessant bombing” by Russia.
“We want a no-fly zone because our people are being killed. From Belarus, from Russia — these missiles, these Iskander missiles and bomber planes, are coming,” Zelensky said in a plea for help that has been rejected in other forms previously.
Not Your Wingman: Western Nations Deny Plans to Provide Fighter Jets to Ukraine https://t.co/kN7SkIoF2H
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 4, 2022
“I asked President Biden, and Scholz and Macron…and I said, if you can’t provide a no-fly zone right now, then tell us when?”
Using a televised news conference in Kyiv to address the crisis, the Ukrainian president went on to ask how many more people in Ukraine must be killed before NATO agrees to act.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has previously said using U.S. forces to create a no-fly zone in Ukraine is “not a good idea,” as Breitbart News reported.
Speaking during an interview with MSNBC, Psaki said the implementation of such a defensive dynamic by the U.S. military “would essentially mean the U.S. military would be shooting down planes, Russian planes.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said Wednesday NATO allies “do not seek conflict with Russia,” stressing NATO is a “defensive alliance” and will not actively enter the disputed airspace.