What a no-fly zone over Ukraine would mean for the US and NATO


Judy Woodruff:

Over the past few days, there have been increasing calls from the United States and NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy reiterated that call today.

But what is a no-fly zone and how would it work?

For this we get two views.

Retired Lt. Gen. Doug Lute served on the staff of the National Security Council during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. He also served as US Ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration. And Kurt Volker had a 23-year career as a diplomat. He too served as US Ambassador to NATO under the George W. Bush administration. He also served as special representative for negotiations with Ukraine during the Trump administration.

And we welcome you both to the “NewsHour”.

I’ll start with you, Kurt Volker.

Let’s talk about this no-fly zone. Explain exactly – you are one of the few people who have come out and said this is something that should be done.

Why do you think that and how exactly would it work? What is that?

Kurt Volker, former US Special Representative for Ukraine: That’s right.

Well, let’s start with the moral obligation. When we see civilians being killed like this and what Putin is doing to Ukraine now, it is very reminiscent of the worst days of the 1930s and what Hitler did in Europe. And we said to ourselves, never again. So

And we need – we have an obligation to do something here. We have created no-fly zones in the past. Every circumstance is different. We did them in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in northern Iraq.

But the whole underlying principle is humanitarian. It is to save civilian lives, to prevent them from being bombarded by the sky. And I think that in this case, it should be done differently than in other cases. We would basically tell a Putin that we’re not going to attack Russian ground targets unless we’re being shot at, we’re not going to attack Russian planes unless they come into the area and refuse to to leave.

We just want to create a clear space where there are no attacks on civilians to allow humanitarian aid to flow in and civilians to leave safely.


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