Following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for a no-fly zone for Russian aircraft due to the bombing the city of Kharkiv took that killed numerous civilians in the process, NATO allies collectively rejected Ukraine’s request stating that they were wary of being dragged into the conflict directly and may perhaps start a larger war in Europe and perhaps the entire world. However, despite not directly interfering with the conflict, they also stated that they would be increasing support to Ukraine.

“We are not part of this conflict,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. He reported that “allies agree that we should not have NATO planes operating over Ukrainian airspace or NATO troops on Ukrainian territory,” as it would worsen the situation further.

“We have a responsibility as NATO allies to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine because that would be even more dangerous, more devastating, and would cause even more human suffering.”

The call for a no-fly zone had intensified over the recent shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant last Friday, which caused a fire within the complex which posed a risk of damaging one of its nuclear reactors, reminding the world of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. More so, thousands of casualties have already been reported on both sides of the conflict, with hundreds of civilians dead and more than 1 million refugees leaving Ukraine in fear of their lives.

In an apparent move to try and persuade NATO to support a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted a video on Twitter stating that Russia is trying to turn Ukraine into Syria.

“The tactics they deploy are very similar to the one they excelled in Syria. But we should not allow them to create Syria in Europe,” he said. While asking for help, he cautioned Ukrainian allies that they would have to share responsibility for the lives lost in Ukraine if they did not act. “If you don’t [help], I’m afraid you will have to share responsibility for the lives and the suffering of Ukrainian civilians, who die because of ruthless Russian pilots who throw bombs on them.”

Stoltenberg, who noted that he understood Ukraine’s desperation for a no-fly zone, said that he was only thinking forward about the consequences it might bring to Ukraine, the rest of Europe, and the entire world. He said that if Russia were to fly their warplanes in a no-fly zone, NATO would have to shoot down Russian planes to impose said policy. “If we did that, we’ll end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe involving many more countries and causing much more human suffering,” he said.