NICOLA Sturgeon has repeated calls not to rule out a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying the world should not be “writing Vladimir Putin blank cheques of assurance” that he can escape “military consequences”. 

Her comments follow on from a row with Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland when he accused the First Minister of being “utterly irresponsible” and “naive”. He said she was suggesting a course of action that could ultimately lead to World War Three. 

“I'm afraid she doesn't understand the situation and thank goodness it's the UK Government that take these decisions,” he told broadcasters. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon 'utterly irresponsible and completely naïve' over Ukraine no-fly zone

Asked about Mr Jack’s comments, the First Minister told ITV Border: “Part of the lot of a woman in politics is that you get patronised by men a lot of the time”. 

She added: “I've been patronised by better men Alister Jack along the way to be perfectly honest about it.”

The First Minister defended her comments saying there were others “within defence and security and intelligence circles” making the same point that she was. 

“Which is that NATO and the world, the democratic world generally, should not necessarily be writing Vladimir Putin blank cheques of assurance and giving him a sense that he can act with impunity, and there's no military consequences. 

“That's not advocating a particular course of action, as I said very clearly last week, there are very good reasons why the war should not be escalated into a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO and I think the judgments around that are the right ones at this stage

“But in a situation like this, which is deteriorating, rapidly deteriorating, with the death and destruction that is being visited upon Ukraine by a war criminal, and that's what Vladimir Putin is, there's no doubt about that, then I think there should be some uncertainty in his mind about what the consequences for his atrocious actions might be. 

“So that's the point I was making. I am far from alone in making that point. But these are issues that demand, right now, the greatest degree of sensitivity and the greatest degree of proper consideration. They certainly should not be issues that lead to a tit for tat between Scottish politicians”.

Last week, responding to the First Minister’s initial comments, Mr Jack told Bauer: "I think what she said was utterly irresponsible and completely naive, I'm afraid she doesn't understand the situation and thank goodness it's the UK Government that take these decisions.

"In Cabinet, we were briefed by the chief of the defence staff and he could not have been clearer that we should not put in place a no-fly zone and the PM is in that place, the secretary of state for defence is in that place and the whole of the UK cabinet is in that place.

"If we started to put in place a no-fly zone we'd see ourselves in a situation, within hours, a NATO get would have to take a decision to shoot down a Russian jet and that escalation would be unbelievable. And actually, as some have said, potentially take us into World War Three. We can't put ourselves in that position.

"We're giving lethal aid and we're taking that to the border we're doing those things to support the military as we can, but we're not crossing the border and getting engaged."

The First Minister’s comments came as President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addressed the US Congress, urging them to send military assistance to protect Ukraine’s skies. 

"I have a dream. These words are known to each of you," Mr Zelenskyy said through a translator to the American politicians. "Today I can say I have a need. I need to protect our sky. I need your decision, your help."

President Joe Biden has all but ruled out a no-fly zone.