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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its tenth day as President Zelensky reiterated his call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and the partial ceasefire to facilitate the humanitarian corridor did not hold. Russian president Vladimir Putin warned against the no-fly zone and said it would expand the conflict. NewsHour’s foreign affairs and defense correspondent Nick Schifrin joins from Lviv, Ukraine.
NewsHour foreign affairs and defense correspondent Nick Schifrin is on the ground in Ukraine and joined me earlier from the city of Lviv.
Nick, you've been reporting recently about how Lviv has become a corridor for all the refugees that are leaving. Is the situation getting better or worse?
It's getting worse, Hari, it's not clear that the city will be able to find enough food for everyone or enough shelter. We were at a volunteer location today where people all over the country are contributing everything from diapers to food to camouflage netting for soldiers in the east. So far, the city is calm, pretty orderly, but certainly the border crossings have been full of Ukrainians fleeing this war.
What should we be making of Vladimir Putin's essentially threat to say that is, any third party tries to do a no fly zone over Ukraine that he will consider that a threat to his troops?
For the U.S., for NATO, to enforce the no fly zone would really require U.S. or NATO jets to shoot down Russian jets over Ukraine and that is the beginning of a war much larger than the one we're witnessing and one that U.S. and NATO's officials, of course, have refused to participate in.
We've seen the leadership in Ukraine steadily and regularly make appeals to the West. What is Volodymyr Zelensky doing now to try to keep making his case?
Last night and this morning, his foreign minister while visiting the Polish border with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, they say the exact same thing there needs to be a no fly zone. There needs to be more surface to air missiles and there needs to be more anti-tank weapons. The last two of those are things that the U.S. and NATO in the West have been contributing to Ukraine in some cases for months, sometimes for weeks. But again, the U.S. and NATO are simply not interested in enforcing a no fly zone because it would require NATO and U.S. jets to shoot down Russian jets.
A couple of nights ago, there was a scare when Russian forces attacked and took over a nuclear power plant, and we're just starting to see some images from inside there. What did we learn?
We now know that officials inside the plant, in Russian, were using their loudspeakers to plead with Russian troops, stop, stop it. Stop it. You are endangering security not only for Ukraine, but all of Europe. And the reason that is is that Zaporizhzia has six reactors, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was caused by a single reactor's incident, so the risk if something were to happen to any of Ukraine's nuclear power plants, and the country has multiple, is very great and would extend far beyond Ukraine.
Nick, given that you are seeing people who are leaving parts of Ukraine, fleeing for the safety of their own families, and at the same time you are seeing volunteers double down in their efforts, I mean, what do the Ukrainian people feel right now, given what they're seeing day in and day out?
I think you just said it, fear and resolve simultaneously. The fear of millions of people, millions of families who have spent days in air raid shelters in cities like Kharkiv, which is over 1.4 million to smaller towns near the line of contact between Ukrainian soldiers and Russian soldiers in the East, they have been having to deal with a war that has basically been targeted in their living rooms. They live in apartment complexes that are being directly shelled by Russian army, and so they are heading west and they have horrific stories to tell. There are residents outside Kyiv who are walking for hours, there's video of old people in their 80s and 90s walking under a destroyed bridge. They are fleeing for their lives with only what they could carry. And yet, at the same time, you have a country that over the last few years has developed a pride, a faith, a national identity much stronger than ever before. And they are using that with a much stronger military to confront an existential threat to their country and from young women here in Lviv to older men we've talked to in the East, they are absolutely determined to take on a much, much larger Russian military, and so far they have inflicted heavy damage.
NewsHour's Nick Schifrin joining us from Lviv tonight. Thanks so much, Nick.
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