Sviatoslav Yurash, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, welcomed $800 million in new security aid from the U.S. Wednesday but said a no-fly zone over Ukraine is his country’s biggest need.
“Our essential request is a no-fly zone because Russia is using its overwhelming air force to cause havoc and destruction in our country,” Mr. Yurash told The Washington Times in a phone interview. “It is our unyielding request time and time again.”
“The big thing we keep repeating is the no-fly zone because of the reality of Russian airpower,” he said. “They are using it to kill Ukraine citizens in numbers we haven’t seen since the Second World War.”
Mr. Yurash said a close friend was recently killed in a Russian airstrike, and said imposing a no-fly zone would be a “decisive step” in support of Ukraine.
His comments echo calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Zelenskyy pleaded with Congress for the U.S. to create a no-fly zone over Ukrainian skies as Russian airpower continues its bombardment of the country.
“‘l have a dream,’ these words are known to each of you today,” Mr. Zelenskyy told Congress. “I have a need, a need to protect our sky. I need your help.”
He showed a nearly three-minute video of war footage from several Ukrainian cities that concluded with the words, “Close the sky over Ukraine.”
After Mr. Zelenskyy’s speech, President Biden announced $800 million in new military aid for Ukraine but stopped short of creating a no-fly zone.
The White House has insisted that closing the Ukraine skies would require the U.S. or its allies to shoot down Russian planes that violate the order, sparking a direct military conflict with Moscow.
Mr. Yurash said if western countries are unwilling to impose a no-fly zone, Ukraine can enforce it on its own. He said Ukrainian pilots are capable of confronting Russian planes.
Still, he said the U.S. aid will help Ukraine counter the Russian onslaught.
“Everything is welcome,” Mr. Yurash said. “We are being attacked from all different sides. We appreciate the support we are getting.”