The United States will neither engage with Russian troops in Ukraine nor establish a no-fly zone over the country, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told CNN. Austin stated, “Well, the President’s [Joe Biden] been very clear about the fact that we won’t have troops engaged in combat with Russia and Ukraine in order to affect or put into place a no-fly zone.”
Austin said that in order to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, the US will have to actively engage in aerial combat with Russian aircraft and run the risk of entering into a nuclear conflict with the latter. Austin said, “We’d have to control the skies and that would mean that we’d have to engage Russian aircraft we’d also have to take out Russian aircraft and aircraft systems in Ukraine, in Belarus, and also in Russia. So that would mean that we’re in combat with Russia. And these are two nuclear-powered countries. That nobody wants to see. It’s not good for the region. It’s not good for the world.”
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden had said US forces will not engage with the Russian military in Ukraine. “Let me be clear — our forces are not engaged and will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine,” said Biden during the State of the Union address.
Biden further said that US troops deployed in Europe are there to defend NATO allies from Russian aggression. He added, “For that purpose, we have mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, ship deployments to protect NATO countries, including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.”