In this March 8, 2022, file photo, U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, arrives for a Democratic policy meeting at the Capitol in Washington. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In a brief meeting with reporters in Portland on Monday, U.S. Sen. Angus King said he supports President Joe Biden’s handling of the Ukraine crisis, and that Russian nuclear weapons policies could put the world in grave danger.

When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy addresses Congress this week, he is expected to call once more for the U.S. and NATO to institute a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine to blunt the force of Russia’s attacks. But King sounded skeptical.

“A no-fly zone has an impact on aircraft, but not missiles and artillery, which is what’s principally causing the damage in Ukraine,” King said. “So a no-fly zone would be viewed or it’s possible it would be viewed as substantial escalation without a substantial benefit to the Ukrainian people.”

King, who sits on the Senate’s Intelligence and Armed Services committees, also warned that Russia has a doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons that differs from other nuclear powers.

“That if they are losing on the battlefield, and if the homeland is at risk — Russia —  they will use tactical nuclear weapons in order to intimidate their opponents into de-escalating the conflict,” King said. “The problem is that Putin considers Ukraine to be a part of Russia, so he could invoke that doctrine, and utilize nuclear weapons.”

King said this is the most dangerous moment in world history since at least the Cuban missile crisis.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.