Ukraine war

Putin says Russia will not attack NATO, but F-16s will be shot down in Ukraine

Putin says Russia will not attack NATO, but F-16s will be shot down in Ukraine
Two Romanian military jet pilots fly their F16 Falcons during a demo flight following the opening ceremony for the European F-16 Training Center, held at the 86th Air Base 'Lieutenant Aviator Gheorghe Mociornita', in Borcea, Romania, 13 November 2023. The ETFC it is the first European dedicated training facility outside the United States territory that had all the means for training F16 pilots in order to facilitate the interoperability between NATO member countries. According to the project contract, Romanian Defense Ministry put the 86th Air Base at the training hub's disposal, including the tech training facilities and logistic support. The Netherlands already gave four pieces of F16 jet fighters for the training flights, and US company Lockheed Martin comes with the instructors and maintenance. At the EFTC are supposed to get the training the Ukrainian pilots that will handle the F16 that Ukraine will receive from its western allies, according to the NATO decision. EPA-EFE/Robert Ghement

MOSCOW, March 28 (Reuters) - Russia has no designs on any NATO country and will not attack Poland, the Baltic states or the Czech Republic but if the West supplies F-16 fighters to Ukraine then they will be shot down by Russian forces, President Vladimir Putin said late on Wednesday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has triggered the deepest crisis in Russia’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Speaking to Russian air force pilots, Putin said the U.S.-led military alliance had expanded eastwards towards Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union but that Moscow had no plans to attack a NATO state.

“We have no aggressive intentions towards these states,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript released on Thursday.

“The idea that we will attack some other country – Poland, the Baltic States, and the Czechs are also being scared – is complete nonsense. It’s just drivel.”

The Kremlin, which accuses the U.S. of fighting against Russia by supporting Ukraine with money, weapons and intelligence, says relations with Washington have probably never been worse.

Asked about F-16 fighters which the West has promised to send to Ukraine, Putin said such aircraft would not change the situation in Ukraine.

“If they supply F-16s, and they are talking about this and are apparently training pilots, this will not change the situation on the battlefield,” Putin said.

“And we will destroy the aircraft just as we destroy today tanks, armoured vehicles and other equipment, including multiple rocket launchers.”

Putin said that F-16 could also carry nuclear weapons.

“Of course, if they will be used from airfields in third countries, they become for us legitimate targets, wherever they might be located,” Putin said.

Putin’s remarks followed comments earlier in the day by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba that the aircraft should arrive in Ukraine in the coming months.

Ukraine, now more than two years into a full-fledged war against Russia, has sought F-16s for many months.

Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands are among countries which have pledged to donate F-16s. A coalition of countries has promised to help train Ukrainian pilots in their use.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow and Ron Popeski; Editing by Sandra Maler and Michael Perry)


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  • Johann Olivier says:

    This is almost hilarious. The Bear blusters yet. Putin is just lucky he chose Ukraine to invade & not Finland. Russia is a third-rate petro-power with nuclear weapons. Without the latter, no-one would pay attention. Before the Ukraine debacle, Russia was seen as a real conventional threat. The Fulda Gap & all that. Now? Barely. The so-called threat of NATO has become real. Enlarged by Sweden & Finland, with EU countries seriously increasing their defense budgets & seriously curtailing dependence on Russian energy. Has any leader ever, including Mussolini & Galtieri, so devalued their prestige & standing? Putin is such an inept, corrupt plonker, he makes the ANC Grandees look like amateurs.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Agree 100%. Of course he won’t attack NATO as he will get the hiding of his life!! The much vaunted Russian military is a paper tiger. The incompetence is staggering!! This obnoxious coward, bully and psychopath only attacks those that are clearly weaker than him although he miscalculated very badly on Ukraine. What was supposed to be a walk in the park has turned into a veritable and rotten Russian salad.

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