Ukraine’s president calls for no-fly zone to stop Russian bombardment

Smoke rises from the territory of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s unit, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the West to consider a no-fly zone for Russia aircraft over Ukraine on Monday after Moscow bombarded the country’s second largest city, killing at least 11 people.

The head of the regional administration Oleg Synegubov said on Monday that Russian forces were firing artillery at residential areas of Kharkiv where there are no Ukrainian army positions or strategic infrastructure.

In a video address, Zelensky said it was time to block Russian missiles, planes and helicopters from Ukraine’s airspace.

“Fair negotiations can occur when one side does not hit the other side with rocket artillery at the very moment of negotiations,” he said, according to Reuters.

The United States has ruled out sending troops to fight Russia and officials have voiced concern about further escalation tensions between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers.

“A no-fly zone would require implementation,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday.

Such a move would require “deploying U.S. military to enforce, which would be… potentially a direct conflict, and potentially a war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of,” she said.

Western nations have hit Russian with sanctions, with targets including President Vladimir Putin and his confidents.

Putin, however, has shown no sign of reconsidering the invasion he unleashed on Russia’s neighbor last Thursday in an attempt to redraw Europe’s security map and pull Ukraine firmly into its orbit, according to Reuters.

The United States expelled 12 Russian diplomats at the United Nations, citing national security concerns. Russia described the move as “hostile”.

Images from the U.S. satellite company Maxar showed a Russian military convoy stretching over 17 miles (27 km) and moving closer to the capital, Kyiv, which remains under Ukrainian government control.

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