A no-fly zone over Ukraine would plunge U.S. into ‘World War III,’ Republican senator says

March 6, 2022, 10:53 PM UTC

Implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would plunge the U.S. into “World War III,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday.

In comments made on ABC’s “This Week,” the Florida Republican and one-time presidential candidate said “no-fly zone” has become a “catchphrase.”

“I’m not sure a lot of people fully understand what that means,” he said. “That means flying AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) 24 hours a day. That means the willingness to shoot down and engage Russian airplanes in the sky. That means, frankly, you can’t put those planes up there unless they’re willing to knock out the anti-aircraft systems that the Russians have deployed, and not just in Ukraine, but Russia and also in Belarus.

“So basically a no-fly zone … means World War III.”

Fighting for his country’s survival, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a “desperate” plea Saturday to American lawmakers to secure his country’s skies, either through a no-fly zone enforced by NATO or through the provision of more warplanes so Ukraine can better defend itself.

Zelenskyy has been pleading for a no-fly zone for days, but NATO has refused, saying it could provoke a widespread war with Russia.

The hourlong exchange with some 300 members of Congress and their staffs came as Russian troops continued to shell encircled cities and the number of Ukrainians who have fled the country grew to 1.4 million.

Rubio was among members of Congress on the Zoom call with Zelenskyy and received criticism for tweeting a picture of the livestream, including from Democratic Reps. Dean Phillips (Minn.) and Jason Crow (Colo.), HuffPost reported. But others present at the Zoom meeting, including Republican Sens. Steven Daines and Chuck Grassley, shared similar images.

Rubio said Sunday that the picture “was shared before he and others were told by the Ukrainian ambassador not to share any information from the meeting,” and that there was “no security risk,” according to HuffPost.

The tweet remained on his Twitter page late Sunday.

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