Ukraine’s President Zelensky and his top officials have over the past days been very openly urging a US and NATO imposed no-fly zone over the country, which would effectively bring American forces into a direct shooting war with Russia.
On Saturday Russian President Putin issued a stern threat to any external power thinking about intervening by sending direct military forces.
Putin made clear a no-fly zone would result in the Kremlin’s immediate declaration of war on any country intervening in such a way.
The AP reported and translated his fresh comments made before civilian aviation industry members and pilots as follows:
“A no-fly-zone would spell war for any third party who tries to enforce one over Ukraine,” Vladimir Putin has said.
Speaking at a meeting with female pilots on Saturday, Putin said Russia would view “any move in this direction” as an intervention that “will pose a threat to our service members.”
“That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are,” the Russian president said.
Further he addressed the ratcheted up sanctions on Russia from the West, which are now serving to isolate Russia almost on levels akin to the US sanctions regimen on Iran – with of course the important exception that the US has not yet directly targeted Russian oil and gas exports.
Sanctions against us are like declaring war on Russia,” Putin said additionally in the meeting with military members.
He further painted a positive picture of Russia’s strategy and military operations on the ground, at a moment many Western officials and pundits in the media have pointed out major problems for the invaders as Ukraine mounts a fierce ground resistance.
“The destruction of all relevant military infrastructure in Ukraine was done as first priority, including aviation, air defences and warehouses. This is almost completed,” Putin said.