USA/UKRAINA/SLOVAKIA: Thankfully it’s looking like a WW3 showdown between two nuclear armed superpowers will be avoided, for now. Following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s emotional plea to US Congress on Wednesday urging a West-imposed no-fly zone over the country to stop Russia – for which he was met with a standing ovation from US lawmakers from the House and Senate – US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin weighed in Thursday stating the Pentagon’s rejection of a no fly zone.
Reiterating that the US will not “close the skies” over Ukraine as Zelensky requested, he stressed this is because “a no-fly zone means you’re in a conflict with Russia.”
“From a US perspective, our President, President Biden, has been clear that we would not have US forces fighting in Ukraine. Having said that, we’ll do everything within our power to support Ukraine in their efforts to defend their territory,” Austin said while on a trip to Bratislava, Slovakia where he met with top defense officials there.
“We’ve also stated enforcing a no-fly zone actually means that you’re in combat, you’re in a fight with Russia, and that’s one of the things that we have said, that our President said we weren’t going to do, get in a fight with Russia,” he explained.
“So what this really means is that in order to control the skies, you have to shut down the air defenses there on the ground. And some of those air defense systems are in Russia and so, again, there’s no easy or simple way to do this. There’s no such thing as a no-fly zone light. A no-fly zone means you’re in a conflict with Russia. So from a US perspective, we’re, again, our position remains that we’re not going to do that,” he added.
The comments came also the day after the Biden administration signed off on sending armed drones to Ukraine – an action in and of itself Russia may see as a huge US escalation. Moscow has vowed it will treat any external military shipments into the country as a “legitimate target”.
Austin stipulated after rejecting the possibility of a no fly zone: “So our goal has been to continue to reinforce those things that have worked for the Ukrainian forces,” he said.
by Tyler Durden
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