'Ukraine needs no-fly zone and fighter planes', insists Polish envoy who is STILL in Kyiv
Poland’s ambassador to Kyiv has called for a no-fly zone over Ukraine and for the Ukrainian air force to receive Western aircraft.
Bartosz Cichocki, who is the only western ambassador to stay in the Ukrainian capital, said: "Each day of delay means the loss of hundreds of human lives, unimaginable destruction to infrastructure, and the prolongation of a conflict that could be resolved much faster if the skies above Ukraine were closed.”
The call comes after Nato refused to establish a no-fly zone despite repeated appeals by the country's leaders and the US rejected a Polish proposal to move its MiG fighters to a US base in Germany for possible use by the Ukrainian air force.
According to Nato and the Pentagon neither move was possible as this would be tantamount to the West's direct involvement in the war.
Commenting on the Pentagon's rejection Cichocki said: "I believe Ukraine should have been allowed these planes, [the Nato countries] should provide air defence systems to give the Ukrainians a chance," Cichocki said.
He added that the MiG offer had been "the news of the day" in Ukraine, and that the country's leadership "highly appreciated" Warsaw's position.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: "Departing from the US-Nato base in Germany to fly into the airspace contested with Russia over Ukraine raises some serious concerns for the entire Nato alliance.
“So we have to work through specifics of these things going forward.
"What we are doing right now is to continue to consult very closely with Poland, with other Nato allies, on this and the logistical challenges that it presents.”
The news comes as analysts say the battle for Kyiv has already begun after Russia launched two failed attacks to the east and west of the city in an attempt to push into the outskirts of the capital.
Five Russian battle groups were repelled by Ukrainian forces in the nearby city of Irpin to the west and via Brovary in the east after being ambushed by artillery and missile strikes.