Daria Kaleniuk, the co-founder and executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, urged the Prime Minister to enforce a no-fly zone and said Ukrainians were “taking guns with zero protection” to “fight the evil” of Russian troops.
“I passed the border a couple of days ago,” she said. “I am from Kyiv, most of my family, most of my team members are still in Ukraine in Kyiv. Kharkiv, the city where I was studying, was bombarded today. Fully.
“So you're talking about the stoicism of Ukrainian people. But Ukrainian women and Ukrainian children are in deep fear because of bombs and missiles, which are coming from the sky.
“Ukrainian people are desperately asking for the West to protect our sky. We are asking for the no-fly zone. We are seeing responses that it will trigger World War Three. But what is the alternative, Mr. Prime Minister?
“To observe? Our children are, instead of planes, are protecting Nato from the missiles and bombs.
“What's the alternative for the no-fly zone?
We have planes here. We have an air defence system in Poland in and Romania. Nato has this air defence. At least this air defence could shoot the Western Ukraine so these children with women could come to the border.
“It's impossible now to cross the border, there are 30 kilometres of lines. Imagine crossing the border with a baby or with two children.
“I'm so glad that Samantha Power is coming here to the border from the Polish side. Let her come to the border from the Ukrainian side and see that.
“Britain guaranteed our security under Budapest memoranda. So you're coming to Poland Prime Minister, you’re not coming to Kyiv.
“Because you are afraid.
“Because Nato is not willing to defend. Because Nato is afraid of World War Three, but it has already started.
“And it’s the Ukrainian children who are there taking the heat.
“You're 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. Putin’s children are in the Netherlands, in Germany, in mansions.
“When are all these mansions seized?
“I don't see that. I see that my family members and my team members are saying that we are crying. We don’t know where to run. This is what is happening, Prime Minister.”
Responding, Mr Johnson said: “Thank you very much for your questions. And thank you for getting here today, I'm glad that you have been able to get here.
“I just want to say that I'm acutely conscious that there is not enough that we can do to the UK Government to help them the way that you want. And when you talk about the no-fly zone, as I said to [Ukrainian president] Volodymyr Zelensky, I think a couple of times, unfortunately, the implication of that is that the UK will be engaged in, in shooting down Russian planes and engaged in direct combat with Russia.
“That's not something that we can do ... that we've envisaged. And I think the consequences of that would be truly very, very difficult to, to control. What we can do is all the things that we are doing already and providing as much help and support to Ukrainians as we, as we can, as I said to you earlier on the UK was the first European country to offer military assistance, also doing everything we can to tighten the economic newness around the Belgian regime.
“And we were amongst the very first to put that package together. And I have to tell you, I think that it will work.
“I'm afraid for us to come through this period in all we can do in the meantime, is help people like your crew and your family to get out, to get to safety, help them with all the humanitarian support that we can provide, help them to come to the UK. And we certainly will, but I cannot pretend to you that this is going to be something that the UK can fix by military means and I think it'd be wrong with me to do so.”
Many took to social media to praise the reporter, with one writing: “This reporter, absolutely right to be so emotional, outlined the reality. As she said, Nato is afraid of triggering World War Three. But the West prefers to asphyxiate Russia until it can’t wage war anymore. It will take time to realise, but at major cost to Ukrainian lives.”
Another wrote: “Powerful question and points from the Ukrainian reporter to the PM … heart-breaking and emotional intervention and plea for more help.”