Russian President Vladimir Putin says imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be a declaration of war.
"Any movement in this direction will be considered by us as participation in an armed conflict by that country," Putin said during a meeting with female flight crew members of Russian airlines broadcast on state television.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has requested NATO impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine but the military's alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said while it understood Ukrainian requests, such a measure would involve shooting down Russian planes, which could lead to a "full-fledged" war in Europe.
Putin also warned of the consequences of Ukraine joining NATO.
"We begin to talk more and more actively about the fact that Ukraine will be accepted into NATO. Do you understand what this could lead to?," he said.
While explaining the motives behind Russia's "special military operation" in its smaller neighbour, the Kremlin leader said that the decision to enter Ukraine was a "difficult" one.
"I said it at the beginning of the operation and before this decision was taken. It was a difficult decision, without a doubt," Putin said.
Australian Associated Press
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