MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. Russia will regard any efforts to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participation in the hostilities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday.
"We are now hearing that there needs to be a no-fly zone over Ukraine," he said at a meeting with female pilots of Russian airlines. "It can’t be done on the territory of Ukraine. It can be done only on the territory of some neighboring countries."
"But any move in that direction will be viewed by us as participation in the armed conflict of the country from the territory of which threats to our troops will be created," he went on to say. "The same second we will regard them as participants of military conflicts, no matter which organizations they are members of."
Putin said the implementation of a no-fly zone would entail "colossal and catastrophic consequences not only for Europe, but for the entire world."
On February 24 Putin announced a special military operation in response to a request for help by the heads of the Donbass republics. He stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, but aims to demilitarize and denazify the country. The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure, therefore there are no threats to the civilian population.