Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy on Monday again pleaded for the international community to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine and “boycotts” of Russian oil as Russia continues its invasion of the country for a twelfth day.
In a statement Monday, Zelenskyy addressed Ukrainians as “peaceful people,” saying they “never wanted this war but it has been brought.”
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“We’ve never dreamed of killing, but we are forced to get the enemy away from our lives and our land,” he said, adding that the Ukrainian people have to “go through the things that any other European people hasn’t had to experience in the last 80 years.”
“And it’s exactly on our land that it’s been decided whether somebody else in Europe will become the victim of the same aggression,” he said. “I tell this to European leaders and I hear that they agree.”
Zelenskyy said Ukraine is “deciding the future of the continent with our resistance.”
“If the invasion continues and Russia does not change its plans, then the new sanctions package is needed,” Zelenskyy said. “New sanctions steps against the war, for the sake of peace.”
Zelenskyy called for “boycotts of Russian exports, namely refusal from oil and oil products from Russia.”
“It may be called embargo, but it also simply may be called a moral when you refuse to give money to a terrorist,” Zelenskyy said, adding that there should also be a boycott of imports into Russia, saying if Moscow doesn’t want to “follow civilized rules, then they should also not be getting any goods or services from civilization.”
“Let the war feed them,” Zelenskyy said, urging the international community to “act even with bigger resolution.”
Zelenskyy’s call to boycott Russian oil imports comes as the Biden administration and members of Congress have said it may be time for a ban on Russian imports.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said that the administration is speaking with partners and allies “to look, in a coordinated way, at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil, while making sure there is still an appropriate supply of oil on world markets.”
Blinken said it is a “very active discussion.”
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Republicans and moderate Democrats alike are calling for the ramping up of American energy production, with GOP lawmakers criticizing the Biden administration for shutting down U.S. oil and gas pipelines.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy warned that Ukrainians have to “fight against inhuman force, which is trying to destroy humanity itself.”
“The success of the Ukrainian army, will of the Ukranian people, principles of international sanctions—this is the path to peace,” he said, calling Russia’s attacks in residential neighborhoods “terror,” but warning that they will “get punishment.”
“Our Armed Forces know how to do it. The enemy is tired and demoralized. They’ve come to our land searching here for something that has never been here – cowardice, consent to betrayal,” Zelenskyy said. “Any normal person cannot look without fear at the burnt houses, it’s clear, at the destroyed multi storied residential buildings; regular cars destroyed by rockets, grenade launchers, mortar launchers against people.”
“The feeling is that it’s happening in another country but it’s happening in our country, namely in our country that has always wanted peace more than anything,” he said.
Calling again for a no-fly zone, Zelenskyy pleaded with western allies: “How many deaths and losses are still needed to secure the sky over Ukraine?”
“What is the difference between peaceful people in Kharkiv and Mykolaiv and those in Hamburg and Vienna? We are awaiting the decision, clearing of the sky, either by the forces that you have or you give us the fighter planes of anti-aircraft defense that you have and that will provide the needed strength to us,” he said.
Zelenskyy said a no-fly zone is “not just for Ukraine but for yourselves, too, in order to prove that humanity will win as fast as it can.”
Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian government is “already working on how to restore our country after the victory, how to provide strength to the country while we are fighting.”
Zelenskyy, on Sunday, also called for a no-fly zone, in a video message posted to Twitter bearing subtitles in English that stated: “We repeat everyday: ‘Close the sky over Ukraine!’”
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Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova espoused the same message on “Fox News Sunday,” in response to the Biden administration stating that it would not be imposing a no-fly zone. Markarova offered a reminder that Russia attacked Ukraine unprovoked, and that if this could happen to Ukraine, it could happen to others.
“So if this situation, you know, happened to Ukraine, who is safe? What democracy can feel safe right now?” Markarova wondered. “So, I think, you know, the events of the past 11 days clearly shows that we have to act together and that Russia can attack anyone being totally unprovoked like they did with Ukraine. So it’s time for all of us to step up.”
Ukraine’s calls for a no-fly zone come as the Biden administration and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have made clear they are firmly against such a move.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., explained why a no-fly zone is more complicated and dangerous than people may realize.
“It’s not just some rule you pass that everybody has to oblige by. It’s the willingness to shoot down the aircraft of the Russian Federation, which is basically the beginning of World War III,” Rubio told ABC’s “This Week.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” Rubio’s Democratic and Republican colleagues agreed, pointing out why a no-fly zone would not be in the best interest of the U.S., even if it is understandable for Ukraine to want one.
“I think we need to be clear that we are not going to go to war with Russia, that would be the beginning of WWIII, and it would drag all of Europe into a much broader war,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said.
“If I were President Zelenskyy, I would be asking for a no-fly zone. The problem is, there is no such thing as a no-fly zone over Ukraine,” Murphy said. “If the United States put planes in the air, we would immediately be shooting at Russian planes. They would be shooting at us. We would be at war.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also recognized that Zelenskyy was doing the right thing for his country to ask for a no-fly zone, but making clear that “we do not want to engage directly with Russians.”
“But what we can do,” Ernst said, “is provide all the defensive mechanisms for President Zelenskyy and his armed services to provide their own protected airspace.”
Ernst said this begins “with providing air platforms to President Zelenskyy, making sure that those pilots are able to protect their own airspace.”
Last week, the Biden administration ruled out setting up a no-fly zone for Russian aircraft over Ukraine, with senior defense officials saying enacting one would put the United States “in the fight”–as President Biden has maintained that U.S. military will not fight in Ukraine.
A no-fly zone is “just not going to happen,” the official added.
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Biden, last week, authorized an additional 7,000 U.S. troops to Germany, and said the U.S. “will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power.”
“Let me say it again — our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” Biden said. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the East.”
“There is no doubt, no doubt, that the United States and every NATO ally will meet our Article V commitments, which says, an attack on one is an attack on all,” Biden said.
Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin put 8,500 U.S. troops on heightened preparedness.
Over the weekend, Zelenskyy, asked Congress for more lethal aid, more planes, more sanctions, and to shut down Russian oil exports during a virtual video call with lawmakers as Washington weighs more aid to help Ukraine fight off the ongoing brutal Russian invasion.
The meeting came as NATO also rejected a Zelenskyy request for a no-fly zone over Ukraine to provide air cover for the Ukrainian people. Zelenskyy slammed the decision, but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that having alliance planes over Ukrainian airspace could spark a new world war.
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Ukraine is not a member of NATO and therefore not subject to the Article V provision of the NATO alliance that says when one member country is attacked all member countries will take action to assist.
The Biden administration is requesting at least $10 billion in new money to provide aid to Ukraine amid Putin’s war against the nation. The aid would go for additional humanitarian, security, and economic assistance in Ukraine and the neighboring region in the coming days and weeks, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian government is creating a “special aid package” for businesses and employees in Ukraine, and those who were recruited into the Armed Forces and other defense organizations. The package would free those individuals of “paying the tax for land and lease payments for land of state communal property at all of the territories where military action is going on.”
“These conditions will last throughout the martial law time and as a minimum for a year after its end,” Zelenskyy said, noting this is “just the first part of the large aid package of governmental assistance.”
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.