Austin says a no-fly zone means you’re in a battle with Russia
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that the United States has not changed its position on imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“Imposing a no-fly zone actually means that you are in a fight, that you are in a fight with Russia,” Austin said during a joint press conference with Slovak Defense Minister Jaru Nad.
And he continued, “And that’s one of the things that we said, that our president said we’re not going to do, to have a fight with Russia.” “What this really means is that in order to control the skies, you have to shut down the air defenses there on the ground. And some of these air defense systems are in Russia, so again, there’s no easy or simple way to do this.”
Austin says targeting civilians is a “crime”:
Asked about an increase in attacks by Russian forces on Ukrainian population centers, Austin said the recent attacks “appear to focus squarely on civilians,” but stopped short of calling these actions war crimes.
“If you intentionally attack civilians, deliberately target civilians… that’s a crime,” Austin said, calling on Putin to stop. “We are all shocked by the brutality we still witness day in and day out.”
The review process is ongoing at the US State Department.
Slovakia is ready to offer S-300s to Ukraine:
Nad said Slovakia was ready to give Ukraine the S-300 systems “when we have suitable alternatives”, as it would leave a hole in his country’s defences.
“The only strategic air defense system we have in Slovakia is the S-300,” Nad said. “So what’s going to happen right away when we decide to give it to the Ukrainians is that we’re actually creating a security hole in NATO.”
He added that discussions are underway on the status of such defensive weapons.
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