Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Putin warns against no-fly zone

President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Saturday warned that any nation contemplating imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be considered by Moscow to be participating in “armed conflict Al Jazeera reports.

“Any movement in this direction will be considered by us as participation in an armed conflict by that country,” Mr Putin said during a meeting with Aeroflot employees.

He said a no-fly zone would have “colossal and catastrophic consequences not only for Europe but also the whole world.”

President Putin’s warning came a few hours after NATO rejected Ukraine’s appeal for a no-fly zone. The alliance said granting such request could drag the whole of Europe into the war.

According to Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, “we are not part of this conflict.”

A decision Ukraine’s president, Vlodomyr Zelenskyy, has criticised as giving green light to Russia to continue invading his country.

“Today, the leadership of the alliance gave the green light for further bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages, having refused to set up a no-fly zone,” he said.

Russia invaded Ukraine by land, sea and air last Thursday, calling it a “special military operation” aimed at ‘de-nazifying’ the country.

“The 10-day offensive has killed or wounded thousands of people and sent more than one million people seeking refuge across Ukraine’s borders.

According to the United Nations, more than 1.2 million people have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries. The numbers could increase in the coming days.