Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called NATO "weak" and "underconfident" on Friday for refusing the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Axios reported.
NATO argued establishing such a zone could escalate the conflict into a wider European war.
"The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukrainian airspace, and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, according to ABC News.
"We understand the desperation, but we also believe that if we did that, we would end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe," he added.
Zelenskyy lambasted the organization through a video statement posted to Telegram, claiming the country has been thrown into "nine days of darkness" without assistance from NATO.
"Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine," Zelenskyy claimed.
"Because of your weakness, because of your disunity, all the alliance has managed to do so far is to carry fifty tons of diesel fuel for Ukraine," he continued. "Is this the alliance you were building?"
Zelenskyy further disputed claims that a no-fly zone would create a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, calling it "self-hypnosis."
The White House has, so far, shown the same hesitancy towards the no-fly zone idea as NATO, The Hill reported.
Press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday, "It would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and prompting a potential direct war with Russia, the exact step that we want to avoid."
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