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No-fly zone in Ukraine | Any country involved would be considered a participant, Putin says



(Moscow) Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Saturday that Russia would consider co-belligerent any country trying to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a Kyiv claim that NATO has rejected.

“We hear that it would be necessary to establish a no-fly zone over Ukrainian territory. But it is impossible to do this from the territory of Ukraine, it is only possible to do it from the territory of neighboring countries,” Putin said.

But any measure in this direction would be considered by Moscow “as participation in the armed conflict of any country” whose territory would be used to “create a threat to our military”, he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday sharply criticized NATO’s refusal to implement a no-fly zone in Ukraine to neutralize Russia’s vastly superior capabilities in the air.

Western countries refuse to accede to this request, which is complex to implement, on the grounds that this would entail a significant risk of direct conflict with Russia, whose soldiers have been intervening in Ukraine since February 24.

No martial law

Russia does not plan to introduce martial law, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, in response to persistent rumors to do so because of the conflict in Ukraine.

“Martial law is enforced […] in the event of aggression, particularly in regions where fighting is taking place. We do not have such a situation, and I hope it will not intervene,” he said, questioned by employees of the Russian airline Aeroflot.

According to him, he continued in response to a question from one of his interlocutors, only professional soldiers and officers take part in Russian military operations in Ukraine and the Kremlin does not plan to deploy conscripts from the contingent or reservists.

Numerous rumors made Russians fear a mobilization and the introduction of martial law.

“There are attempts to destabilize society,” commented Mr. Putin, seated at a large table with women working for Aeroflot, ahead of Women’s Day on March 8, a holiday in Russia.

Aeroflot has been hit very hard by Western sanctions imposed since Russia brought its troops into Ukraine on February 24.

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