By Laura Osman and James McCarten

Canada has had to make “heartbreaking decisions” when confronted with images of bombed hospitals and schools in Ukraine, civilian casualties and the Ukrainian president’s passionate plea for a no-fly zone over his war-ravaged country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, including Canada, have denied President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request to close the skies over Ukraine due to concerns that it would cross a red line and potentially spark a world war-scale conflict.

“These are heartbreaking decisions and choices that we have to make,” Trudeau said Wednesday, speaking at a news conference in Alliston, Ont., to announce new supports for Canada’s automotive sector.

The prime minister added a no-fly zone may not prevent the mass destruction inflicted on Ukraine, as he said Russia has moved away from dropping bombs from planes over the country’s airspace toward cruise missiles fired from a distance.

The head of the NATO military alliance said Wednesday member countries are united in their belief that they should not deploy forces on the ground in Ukraine or in the country’s airspace.

“We see death, we see destruction, we see human suffering in Ukraine, but this can become even worse if NATO took actions that actually turn this into a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference.

A defiant Zelenskyy, clad in his trademark olive-green military T-shirt, evoked some of the darkest memories in American history Wednesday as he urged members of the U.S. Congress to shutter the skies over his besieged country.