Denys Shmyhal
Denys ShmyhalUkrainian Governmental Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Thursday joined Ukraine‘s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, in calling on the West to close the skies over Ukraine‘s nuclear plants, The Associated Press reported.

Shmyhal said he already had appealed to NATO and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog.

“Close the skies over Ukraine! It is a question of the security of the whole world!” Shmyhal said in a statement Thursday evening.

The call came before the fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, which accounts for about one-quarter of the country’s power generation.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the West to impose a no-fly zone for Russian flights over Ukraine.

However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki later told reporters that US participation in such a move would be tantamount to a direct conflict with Moscow and would be a step toward sending US troops to fight Russia, something Washington seeks to avoid.

"A no-fly zone would require implementation," she said, adding it would require "deploying US military to enforce, which would be ... potentially a direct conflict, and potentially a war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of."