Despite the possibility of open warfare with Russia, and its immense stockpile of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, many American lawmakers are openly calling for the U.S. and NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Enforcing a no-fly zone would, of course, involve the willingness to shoot down Russian aircraft and to place anti-aircraft weapons systems inside Ukraine’s borders.
In a video posted last week, Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL) said that she strongly supports the U.S. and NATO imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine in her zeal to strike a blow against Russian President Vladimir Putin. She then immediately had to admit that she had no idea what a no-fly zone means or what the implications for global security might be.
When asked by The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal if she supports a no-fly zone, she said that she supports everything that is related to punishing Putin and helping Ukrainians. Blumenthal followed up by asking her if her position would lead to open and direct war with Russia. And she admitted that she does not know what it would mean and could only say that “freedom isn’t free.”
Blumenthal asked her if she understood that a no-fly zone would mean shooting down Russian aircraft, to which Salazar replied, “Of course!”
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said during an appearance on Hannity on Fox News this week that he currently does not support a no-fly zone, but would if Putin were to use chemical weapons in Ukraine. He said his mind would be changed in that event because it would “break every war crime rule in the book.”
Graham was not asked what sort of evidence he would require of chemical warfare or how a change in tactics in an ongoing war – one he admits the U.S. should not be involved in – would justify threatening nuclear warfare.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has regularly called for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over his country. The U.S. and other NATO leaders have rejected the idea because of the immediate threat it would create of full-on warfare between Russia and the West.
Joe Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken restated on Sunday that Biden has made it “very clear” that he does not intend to put the U.S. in “direct conflict” with Russia. However, Blinken did reference the “green light” the U.S. has given NATO to supply Ukraine with fighter jets.