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Putin warns against creating no-fly zone over Ukraine

Russia cracks down on media
New Russia law threatens prison time for anyone speaking out against the Kremlin 02:30

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Saturday that his country would consider any third-party declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participation in the war there.

He said Russia would view "any move in this direction" as an intervention that "will pose a threat to our service members."

"That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are," the Russian president said Saturday at a meeting with female pilots.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his visit to Aeroflot aviation training complex outside Moscow on March 5, 2022. MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine's president has pleaded for a no-fly zone over his country and lashed out at NATO for refusing to impose one, warning that "all the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you."

NATO has said a no-fly zone, which would bar all unauthorized aircraft from flying over Ukraine, could provoke widespread war in Europe.

But as the United States and other NATO members send weapons for Kyiv, the conflict is already drawing in countries far beyond Ukraine's borders.

Front-line fighting is now closing in on Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. And Russian tactics are becoming more and more diabolical. NATO's secretary general accused them of using banned weapons.

"We have seen the use of cluster bombs, which will be in violation of international law," said Jens Stoltenberg.

The number of people fleeing Ukraine amid the Russian invasion could climb to 1.5 million by the end of this weekend, Filippo Grandi, the head of the U.N. refugee agency, told Reuters on Saturday.

He described the situation as "the fastest moving refugee crisis we have seen in Europe since the end of World War II."

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