'Millions' could die if the West doesn't impose a no-fly zone, Zelenskyy warns

10 March 2022, 01:39

Zelenskyy reiterated calls for a no-fly zone
Zelenskyy reiterated calls for a no-fly zone. Picture: Ukraine presidential office/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

"Millions" of people could die if the world does not act sooner over Russia's invasion in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

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The Ukrainian leader warned that there will be huge losses if the West continued to hold back until a Third World War to introduce a no-fly zone.

He also claimed that Russia was treating Ukrainians like animals by blocking them from accessing essentials such as food and water, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "going directly to hell".

It follows several calls from Mr Zelenskyy for tougher sanctions on Russia, urging the world to come together.

However, Western countries have been reluctant to agree to introduce a no-fly zone amid concerns it will draw them directly into another world war.

Read more: Children buried under rubble as Russian air strike hits maternity hospital

Read more: David Cameron brands Putin a 'phenomenal liar' who lied over shooting down MH17

"We can't stop all of this alone. Only if the world will unite around Ukraine," Mr Zelenskyy said in a Sky News interview.

He went on to say: "Don't wait for me to ask you several times, a million times, to close the sky."

When it was put to him that other governments believe things will become "worse" if they get actively involved in the fighting, Mr Zelenskyy said: "It would be worse for whom? For our families? No... For them..? Who knows? Nobody knows. But we know exactly that now is very bad. And in future it will be too late.

"Believe me, if it's prolonged this way, you will see... they will close the sky but we will lose millions of people."

It comes after a Russian air strike hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol on Wednesday.

Mr Zelenskyy later confirmed that "children are under the wreckage", once again calling out other countries for their lack of action.

He added: "How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity."

In Washington, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the hospital strike was "absolutely abhorrent", but continued to reject calls from the government in Kyiv for a no-fly zone.

"The reality is that setting up a no-fly zone would lead to a direct confrontation between Nato and Russia, and that is not what we're looking at," she told a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.

"What we're looking at is making sure that the Ukrainians are able to defend their open country with the best possible selection of anti-tank weapons and anti-air defence systems."

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