Swedish Military Official Warns That Putin Could Trigger World War III if Russia Shoots Down F-16s

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.30 - 2024 7:53 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Amid escalating tensions, Vladimir Putin's latest comments have sparked fears of a major conflict, with experts sounding the alarm over the implications for NATO and global peace.

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A recent statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent ripples across the international community, igniting concerns over the potential for a third world war.

At the heart of this controversy is Putin's response to the provision of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by several EU nations, a move that has drawn a stark warning from the Kremlin.

A Bold Assertion

Swedish Lieutenant Colonel Joakim Paasikivi, of the Stockholm Defence University, didn't mince words when he interpreted Putin's remarks.

Speaking to the Swedish news agency TT, he highlighted the gravity of the situation, saying,

"If Putin wants a war with NATO, that’s how you start it. Then it will be a third world war."

Dismissing Western Fears

Earlier in the week, Putin labeled as "drivel" the concerns voiced by Western countries over Russia's potential aggression towards NATO members.

However, his subsequent comments about the F-16 fighter jets have only exacerbated fears. Putin emphasized that should these jets operate from the territories of third countries, they would be deemed legitimate targets by Russia, regardless of their location.

Furthermore, he pointed out the need to consider the aircraft's nuclear capabilities, given their American manufacturing origins.

A Narrative of Victimhood

According to Lt. Col. Paasikivi, Putin's mention of the nuclear aspect of the F-16s serves a dual purpose.

It not only threatens the West but also reinforces the narrative of Russia as a beleaguered nation, constantly under threat from aggressive Western policies.

"For Putin, it is important to constantly present the West as the major threat to the domestic audience. The West’s so-called nuclear threat is at the centre of the entire Russian narrative," Paasikivi explained.

Putin's strategy of wielding the nuclear threat has been a consistent element of Russia's rhetoric since the onset of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

These threats have been echoed by Putin's political allies and propagandists, aiming to intimidate Europe and the US. However, Paasikivi noted a shift in Putin's latest statement, with a more explicit identification of the F-16s and Western targets, marking a new and concerning detail in the ongoing narrative.

The promise of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium represents a significant boost to Ukraine's military capabilities, with a total of 45 aircraft pledged so far.

This number could potentially rise to 60 by year's end, indicating strong Western support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

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