One of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s most incessant requests to the West has been to “close the skies” of his country. That is, to impose a no-fly zone in order to combat Russian air attacks against Ukraine. However, this request, although it has a just cause behind it (to prevent Russian bombs from affecting the Ukrainian civilian population), also brings with it a potentially great consequence for the planet: “it means World War III”, as stated by the Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
In an interview with host George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s This Week, Rubio, who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, explained why he believes it is not a good idea for the U.S. to close the skies over Ukraine.
“You were on that Zoom yesterday with President Zelensky. Are you and your colleagues now more open to a no-fly zone?” asked Stephanopoulos of the senator.
“You know, the — look, a no-fly zone has become a catchphrase. I’m not sure a lot of people fully understand what that means. That means flying AWACs 24 hours a day. That means the willingness to shoot down and engage Russian airplanes in the sky,” Senator Marco Rubio began his explanation. “So basically a no-fly zone, if people understood what it means, it means World War III. It means starting World War III.”
“So, I think there are a lot of things we can do to help Ukraine protect itself, both from air strikes and missile strikes, but I think people need to understand what a no-fly zone means. It’s not just — it’s not some rule you pass that everybody has to oblige by. It’s the willingness to shoot down the aircrafts of the Russian Federation, which is basically the beginning of World War III,” Rubio added.
Following this statement, Stephanopoulos asked the senator about his position with sending fighter jets to Ukraine to defend against attacks by Russia. Here the Republican was much more open to the possibility.
“I do. If that can be done, that would be great. I do have concerns about a couple things. And that is sort of, you know, can they actually fly them given the amount of anti-aircraft capabilities that the Russians possess and continue to have deployed in the region? By the way, yesterday was a terrible day for the Russian air force. They’re losing — they don’t have air control either there. But, generally speaking, it’s something I’d be supportive of, and we should do what we can to help them,” Rubio concluded.