‘Protect our skies’: Ukrainian campaigner’s emotional plea to Johnson in UK

Content of the article

WARSAW – Western powers must impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine to stop an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, an activist said on Tuesday in an impassioned plea to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to do more to help his country following the Russian military attack.

Content of the article

Johnson was answering questions from reporters at the British Embassy in Warsaw when Daria Kaleniuk, a Ukrainian activist with the NGO Anti-Corruption Action Center, told him that Ukrainians needed a no-fly zone.

“Ukrainian women and children are in deep fear because of the bombs and missiles coming from the sky. The Ukrainian people are desperately asking the West to protect our skies,” she said, her voice ringing with emotion.

“Britain guarantees our security under the Budapest memorandum, so you come to Poland, you don’t come to Kiev, prime minister… because you’re scared.”

Britain, along with other nuclear powers, the United States and Russia, is a signatory to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum under which Ukraine gave up its own atomic weapons in exchange for security guarantees.

Content of the article

In response, Johnson said there was “not enough we can do as the UK Government to help…as you wish”.

“The implication of this (no-fly zone) is that the UK would be engaged in shooting down Russian planes, would be in direct combat with Russia. That’s not something we can do or that we considered.

Speaking to Reuters after the Q&A, Kaleniuk condemned what she said was Britain’s refusal to meet security pledges it made nearly three decades ago and said a no-fly zone was essential for delivering humanitarian aid to central and eastern Ukraine.

“Ukrainian children are sitting in bomb shelters and the UK and the US apologize for not going to war with Russia, we won’t protect your skies…because we’re just scared of World War III,” she said.

“So what does this security guarantee mean? Nothing.” (Reporting by Alan Charlish and Kacper Pempel in Warsaw, Kylie Maclellan in London Editing by Paul Simao)

About Hannah Schaeffer

Check Also

Sky Broadband, BT and Virgin customers urged to check their bills to avoid costly price hikes

If you haven’t checked how much your home broadband is costing you in a while, …