Ukrainian in emotional plea to PM for no-fly zone to prevent Russian bombing

Daria Kaleniuk told Boris Johnson in Warsaw that he must do more to protect civilians in Ukraine.

01 March 2022

Boris Johnson has been confronted by a Ukrainian woman who emotionally demanded Britain and Nato allies enforce a no-fly zone over her country to protect people from Russia’s bombs.

Daria Kaleniuk became tearful as she told the Prime Minister at a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday that he must do more to protect civilians from Vladimir Putin’s air strikes.

The executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre civil society organisation also condemned the fact Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich is not under UK sanctions.

But Mr Johnson said UK forces engaging in combat with Russians could have disastrous consequences.

Ms Kaleniuk had told him: “Ukrainian women and Ukrainian children are in deep fear because of bombs and missiles which are going from the sky. Ukrainian people are desperately asking for the rights to protect our sky, we are asking for a no-fly zone.

“What’s the alternative for the no-fly zone?

“Nato is not willing to defend because Nato is afraid of World War Three but it’s already started and it’s Ukrainian children who are there taking the hit.

“You are talking about more sanctions, Prime Minister, but Roman Abramovich is not sanctioned, he’s in London, his children are not in the bombardments, his children are there in London.”

She said Mr Putin’s children are safe in mansions that have not been seized and, breaking into tears, added: “I don’t see that, see that my family members, that my team members are saying we are dying, we don’t have anywhere to run.”

Daria Kaleniuk
Daria Kaleniuk (Geraldine Scott/PA)

Mr Johnson said he was “glad” she had made it to Poland and he was “acutely conscious” that the UK Government could not help in the way she wanted.

“I’ve got to be honest about that. When you talk about the no-fly zone, as I’ve said to (Ukrainian President) Volodymyr Zelensky, I think a couple of times, unfortunately the implication of that is the UK would be engaged in shooting down Russian planes, would be engaged in direct combat with Russia – that’s not something we can do.

“I think the consequences of that would be truly very, very difficult to control.”

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