Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that NATO couldn’t declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine at President Zelensky’s request, citing fears the decision could lead to a direct conflict between Russia and NATO.
“It’s heartbreaking. To have to say we can do so many things to support, but the risk of escalation, the risk of spreading… of involving NATO in a direct conflict if we send NATO planes over Ukraine to shoot down Russian planes,” Trudeau said during an interview with Canada’s CTV News, confirming that Zelensky had asked him directly to implement this measure during a phone call on Thursday.
“We can do an awful lot and we’re doing everything we can. But we can’t do that,” the premier added.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, speaking with CTV News alongside Trudeau, claimed Canada was throwing “Everything we own at this” and noted that economic sanctions imposed by numerous countries on Russia have already made their impact.
“Russian Stock Exchange closed its doors for the ninth consecutive day. Russian debt is now in junk condition and rating agencies have warned of imminent Russian default,” she told reporters.
Since the Russian offensive began in February, Ukrainian officials repeatedly asked NATO members for a no fly zone to be imposed over Ukraine. Many Western leaders rejected the idea due to concerns that it would result in a confrontation with Russia. NATO planes could have to be ordered to fire down Russian aircraft entering Ukrainian airspace.
Moscow invaded its neighboring country at February’s end, after a seven-year conflict over Ukraine’s failures to comply with the Minsk Peace Agreements and Russia’s acceptance of Donbass separatist republics in Lugansk and Donetsk. Russian officials said the strike was needed to end threats from Ukraine to its breakaway areas and Russia to itself. Kiev denies that the Russians planned to take over the region by force and called it an unprovoked attack. Western countries and other countries strongly condemned hostilities. They imposed unprecedented economic sanctions upon Russia’s top businessmen as well as its officials in retaliation.
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