Sen. Chris Murphy Says No-Fly Zones in Ukraine Would be U.S., Russia at War

Senator Chris Murphy argued against the United States creating no-fly zones in Ukraine, saying that would mean being at war with Russia.

In a statement posted to his Twitter, the Connecticut senator and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said there has been "a lot of loose talk from smart people" about potentially putting U.S. troops in the air, but said, "It's a bad idea and Congress would never authorize it."

As Ukraine experiences its fifth day of the Russian invasion, many wonder what kinds of actions western countries like the U.S. will take.The statement comes shortly after an American diplomat told CNN the Biden administration does not intend to provide Ukraine with air support.

"We're not going to put American troops in danger," Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said. "That means we're not going to put American troops in the air as well, but we will work with the Ukrainians to give them the ability to defend themselves."

Thomas-Greenfield added that the U.S. has "not taken anything off the table" regarding energy sector sanctions. In his Twitter statement, Murphy said sanctions as well as providing Ukraine with military support, giving humanitarian aid and moving troops to the eastern parts of NATO are "all the right moves." But he also said that "direct war between the world's two nuclear powers should be a non-starter."

One of the latest in a series of sanctions against Russia includes the decision by the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom to expel certain Russian banks from SWIFT—a communication system that connects banks from around the world. Though the countries were first hesitant to make this move, they changed their mind shortly after a Ukrainian foreign minister said "the blood of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children will be on their hands" if they didn't act quickly, Newsweek previously reported.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague also announced it would open an investigation into potential war crimes Russia might have committed against Ukraine in its attacks over the past week.

Other U.S. government officials have also maintained that there are no plans for the U.S. to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine. In an interview with MSNBC, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said doing so would put U.S. troops in direct conflict with Russia, and President Joe Biden does not want that.

"That is definitely escalatory," she said. "That would potentially put us in a place where we are in a military conflict with Russia. That is not something the president wants to do."

Update 02/28/22 5:30 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information.

Chris Murphy, Capitol
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) argued the U.S. creating no-fly zones in Ukraine would mean the U.S. and Russia at war. Above, Murphy speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to examine U.S.-Russia policy at the U.S. Capitol on December 7, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Alex Brandon/Pool/Getty Images