Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Friday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” that the United States implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would mean going to war with Russia, which is not in Ukraine’s “interest.”

Mitchell said, “As you know, there’s huge pressure, not only from President Zelensky, they want airpower, but huge pressure from the Hill, from Senator Romney, Senator Graham, from Democrats. I get that the Pentagon is saying that to create a no-fly zone, you have to take out Russian air defenses, which means attacking Russia proper and bringing us into the war. I understand that fully but explain why there’s nothing that we can do that against the bombing raids.”

Kirby said, “It’s not that there’s nothing we can do. We’re actually doing a lot. And the kinds of material they are getting, the anti-armor, the air defense systems that, not only the United States but 14 other nations are flowing into Ukraine are helping them do exactly that, to defend their airspace and to defend their country. They’re using the tools with great effect, including surface-to-air missile systems. We’re doing a lot to help them defend themselves and the airspace. That airspace is well covered by Russia surface air missile systems, so it’s a very contested bit of airspace. If you put American pilots in that, you’re basically going to war with Russia.”

He added, “I was a young officer on an aircraft carrier participated from the ship in a no-fly zone effort over northern Iraq. It is combat. There’s no way you can do that without being willing to shoot or be shot at. It is combat. And I don’t think it’s in anybody’s interest, certainly not Ukraine’s interest for the United States and Russia to be getting in a war in their airspace.”


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