White House cool to taking part in no-fly zone for Russia in Ukraine

Press briefing at the White House in Washington
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The White House on Monday reacted coolly to a proposal by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy for a no-fly zone for Russian flights over Ukraine, saying U.S. participation in such a move would be tantamount to a direct conflict with Moscow, which Washington does not want.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that implementing a no-fly zone would be a step toward sending U.S. troops to fight Russia, whose forces began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. read more

"A no-fly zone would require implementation," she said, adding it 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."

Asked separately about a no-fly zone for Russian flights over the United States, Psaki said nothing was off the table, but she noted that many U.S. airlines fly over Russia to get to Asia and other parts of the world - likely another reason for U.S. reluctance.

"No option is off the table," she said. "We factor in a range of factors."

In a video address, Zelenskiy did not specify how and by whom a no-fly zone would be enforced. read more

Reporting by Nandita Bose and Jeff Mason Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool

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