NATO allies on Friday evening rejected Ukraine’s appeal for no-fly zones, saying they were increasing support to Kyiv but that intervening directly could escalate tensions.
“We have a responsibility … to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine because that would be even more dangerous, more devastating and would cause even more human suffering,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hit out at the decision, saying “it was clear that not everyone considers the battle for Europe’s freedom to be the number one goal”.
NATO members are providing military aid to Ukraine’s government, but U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said ahead of his visit to Poland this weekend that NATO was seeking to prevent the war from spreading beyond Ukraine.
“We seek no conflict, but if conflict comes to us, we’re ready for it,” Blinken said, “and we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused the alliance of giving in to Russian pressure, saying it was not the force that Ukrainians had previously imagined.