Interfax-Ukraine

News about recent political developments in Ukraine, key Ukrainian economic news and major current events in the CIS and the rest of the world.

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Closure of sky over Ukraine could work towards speedy ending of war – captured Russian pilot.

KYIV. March 11 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Closure of the sky over Ukraine could help ending the war soon, a captured Russian pilot, deputy commander of Russia's 47th aviation regiment, Maxim Krishtop, has said.

"Closure of the sky over Ukraine will help to put an end to this conflict [the war] soon," he said during a press conference hosted by the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency, adding that he would like to see the Russian and Ukrainian leaders at the negotiating table.

"This could be stopped at any moment, the forces could be withdrawn and long difficult negotiations could be started, anyway it's better than killing each other. I am also addressing the Russian military and fellow soldiers – stop executing criminal orders now, stop conducting combat operations and bombing peaceful cities. I think we have lost this war," the Russian pilot said.

Krishtop underlined that the Russian military "are able to refuse from executing criminal orders of the command."

In turn, major of Russia's 43rd naval assault aviation regiment, Alexei Golovenskiy, said that the Russian military have no reason to fight against the Ukrainian people.

"A global clearing of cities, where the civilians continue to live, is underway in Ukraine… We have no reason to fight against the Ukrainian people… I am addressing the Russian military. I am calling on you to wise up and stop now. Dozens of planes, helicopters have been downed, hundreds of thousands of families have been broken down in both Ukraine and Russia. I am asking, I am demanding the commanders to stop, withdraw the forces and stop any kinds of military operations on the ground and in the air," he said.

Asked about a hypothetical possibility of using nuclear weapon by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Golobenskiy said this will not happen as "it is so devastating that there is no sense [in applying it] for Putin himself, although he continues to threaten and recall about the presence of the nuclear button, he realizes that there will be no winners."

Three Russian servicemen were present at the press conference. Before they had been captured, their tasks were to discover Ukraine's intelligence radio facilities and air defense systems with the aim of their further elimination, covering Russia's ground systems from Ukrainian defense, as well as air attacks on civil infrastructure, military facilities and Ukrainian army forces.

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