The Russian government says it will be forced to take retaliatory measures if Western-made F-16 fighter jets appear in the skies over Ukraine.
The threat was aired by Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during an interview with the RT television channel late last week.
According to Lavrov, Russia has issued a “very serious demarche” with regard to the possibility of F-16 aircraft being transferred to Kyiv.
He also claimed that the fighter jets would be used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to carry nuclear weapons and attack Russian forces.
“Now there is talk about F-16 aircraft, which, indeed, can be equipped to carry nuclear weapons. We’ve said that publicly,” Lavrov said.
“Of course … a military-technical response will follow.”
Calls for Fighter Jets
Since the beginning of the invasion in February 2022, Ukrainian authorities have been pleading for fighter jets from international allies to provide tactical air support to the frontline.
President Volodymyr Zelensky even stated that delays in sending combat aircraft like F-16s could extend the war and result in more damage.
Poland and Slovakia had already pledged warplanes to Kyiv “to protect civilians against the many bombs that fall on their houses.”