Putin Warns: F-16s in Ukraine Will Be Targets, Dismisses NATO Attack Plans

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.28 - 2024 2:56 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Amidst escalating tensions and the deepening crisis in Russia-West relations, President Vladimir Putin outlines Russia's stance on NATO and the potential implications of Western F-16 fighter jets in Ukraine.

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President Vladimir Putin laid out Russia's strategic posture towards NATO and the contentious issue of supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The Russian leader sought to quell speculations about possible aggressive intentions towards NATO states, even as he issued a stark warning about the fate of F-16s if deployed in Ukraine. This is reported by Reuters according to ABC.

Russia's Stance on NATO: No Aggressive Intentions

Putin's conversation with the pilots brought to light his view that Russia harbors no plans to attack NATO states. Dismissing the fears of neighboring countries as unfounded, he emphasized,

"We have no aggressive intentions towards these states," labeling the notion of an attack as "complete nonsense" and "just drivel."

This statement comes against a backdrop of heightened tensions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, an event that has significantly strained relations with Western countries to a degree not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

The F-16 Controversy: A Clear Warning

The discourse took a more ominous turn when the topic of F-16 fighter jets was broached.

With several Western nations pledging to support Ukraine through the donation of these advanced aircraft, Putin was unequivocal about their fate:

"If they supply F-16s...this will not change the situation on the battlefield," he asserted, promising that such aircraft would be destroyed just as tanks and other military equipment have been.

Highlighting the potential risks, Putin also noted that F-16s could carry nuclear weapons, implying broader consequences should these jets be deployed from third-country airfields, making them "legitimate targets" in Russia's eyes.

The West's Stance and Ukraine's Expectations

The commitment by countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands to donate F-16s to Ukraine reflects a consolidated effort to support Kyiv amidst ongoing conflict.

With Ukrainian pilots slated for training on these jets, expectations are that the aircraft could significantly bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities.

However, Putin's comments underscore a grim resolve, suggesting any such enhancement to Ukraine's arsenal would be met with determined opposition.

The remarks followed Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba's statement on the anticipated arrival of these aircraft in the coming months, setting the stage for a potential escalation in the conflict dynamics.

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