Open Letter Urging Biden Put No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine Signed by 27 Foreign Policy Experts

A group of 27 foreign policy experts have signed an open letter urging President Joe Biden to impose a limited no-fly zone over Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

The experts, including former top Pentagon and State Department officials and a former top NATO military commander, called on the Biden administration and NATO to implement a no-fly zone and make clear to Russia that the alliance does not want confrontation with the country's forces.

The signatories wrote that they "urge the Biden administration, together with NATO allies, to impose a limited No-Fly Zone over Ukraine starting with protection for humanitarian corridors that were agreed upon in talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials on Thursday."

"NATO leaders should convey to Russian officials that they do not seek direct confrontation with Russian forces, but they must also make clear that they will not countenance Russian attacks on civilian areas," they wrote in the letter obtained by Politico.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ruled out a no-fly zone involving the military alliance's forces late last week.

The signatories to the letter included retired General Philip Breedlove, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who served as commanding general, United States Army Europe.

They were joined by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Ian Brzezinski, former Under Secretary of Defense Eric S. Edelman and former Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. ambassador to Poland Daniel Fried, among others.

The letter said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine was "premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression has created the greatest crisis on the European continent since the end of World War II.

"Despite the truly heroic efforts by Ukrainian soldiers and average citizens to resist the marauding Russian forces, Putin's military is poised for further attacks on major cities, including the capital Kyiv.

"Targeting residential buildings, hospitals and government complexes, as well as nuclear power plants, Russian forces will be responsible for an even higher death toll," the letter said.

The authors highlighted the sanctions the U.S. and allies have imposed against Russia as well as military aid sent to Ukraine but said that "more must be done to prevent more widescale casualties and a potential bloodbath."

"President Biden and NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg have stated that neither the United States nor NATO will engage Russian forces on the ground in Ukraine," the letter went on.

"What we seek is the deployment of American and NATO aircraft not in search of confrontation with Russia but to avert and deter Russian bombardment that would result in massive loss of Ukrainian lives," the authors wrote.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over his country and strongly criticized the alliance on Friday for refusing to do so.

The U.S. and its NATO allies have been reluctant to implement a no-fly zone out of concern that doing so could escalate the conflict and lead to a direct confrontation with Russian forces.

Newsweek has asked the White House for comment.

Update 03/08/22 08:58 a.m. E.T.: This article was updated to include more information.

Biden Speaks at the White House
President Joe Biden speaks during an event for the signing of H.R. 4445, the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021” into law in the East Room of the White House on March 03, 2022 in Washington, D.C. A group of 27 foreign policy experts have called on Biden to impose a limited no-fly zone over Ukraine. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images