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Tipsheet

Sen. Rubio Says Establishing a No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine Would Start World War III

Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday that World War III would ensue if the U.S. honored Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's request to implement a no-fly zone over the European country amid its ongoing war with Russia.

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During an appearance on ABC's "This Week," Rubio explained that a no-fly zone has "become a catchphrase" and people may not fully understand what it would entail.

"That means flying AWACS 24 hours a day, that means the willingness to shoot down and engage Russian airplanes in the sky," Rubio said. "That means, frankly, you cant put those planes up there unless they're willing to knock out the anti-aircraft systems that the Russians have deployed in, and not just in Ukraine, but Russia and also in Belarus."

"So basically a no-fly zone, if people understand what it means, it means World War III," he continued. "It means starting World War III. It's not some rule you pass that everybody has to oblige by. It's the willingness to shoot down the aircrafts of the Russian Federation, which is basically the beginning of World War III."

Ukrainian officials and some U.S. lawmakers are pushing President Joe Biden and U.S. allies to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine to defend the country's airspace against the Russians. But all have thus far resisted offering air support.

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Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly requested a no-fly zone over Ukraine since the war began roughly two weeks ago.

But the Biden administration has been consistently clear that a no-fly zone is off the table, fearing the potential of an expanded war with Russia.

"The only way to actually implement something like a no-fly zone is to send NATO planes into Ukrainian airspace and to shoot down Russian planes, and that could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe. President Biden has been clear that we are not going to get into a war with Russia," Secretary of State Antony Blinkin said during a Friday news conference in Brussels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that third-party countries establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be viewed as "participation in an armed conflict."

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