Russian foreign minister: Delivery of F-16 jets to Ukraine a “deliberate” signal that NATO is pushing for nuclear war
06/04/2024 // Ramon Tomey // Views

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned of the nuclear threat against Moscow posed by F-16 fighter jets delivered to Ukraine.

He issued this remark during an interview with the state-owned media group Rossiya Segodnya, which was published on May 30. According to him, Moscow will perceive deliveries of the F-16s to Kyiv as a "deliberate" signal that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is "ready for anything" – including the possibility of nuclear war.

"We cannot help but consider the supply of these systems to the Kyiv regime as a deliberate signaling action by NATO in the nuclear sphere," Lavrov explained. He added that F-16 fighter jets have long been used as part of the bloc's joint nuclear missions.

"The fourth-generation fighter planes have been at the forefront of Kyiv's demands for military aid from the West, in an effort to challenge Russia's airpower advantage," Russia Today (RT) wrote. "[But Moscow] has warned repeatedly that it would regard the jets [being] sent to Ukraine as a nuclear threat because of their capacity to carry atomic weapons."

Lavrov stressed his view that the West furnishing Ukraine with increasingly destructive weapons indicated the West’s reluctance to end the Ukraine conflict. He also mentioned that Kyiv receiving the F-16s won't change the situation on the battlefield and that these planes would be destroyed like other weapons supplied by NATO countries. (Related: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says the West DOESN'T WANT the Russia-Ukraine war to end.)

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The foreign minister also cautioned the West against nuclear escalation, which could result in "catastrophic consequences." He also expressed hope that Russia's nuclear exercise, conducted jointly with its ally Belarus, will "bring some sense" to NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a drill earlier this month, which was described as a reaction to hostile statements by the West, to test the country's ability to use non-strategic nuclear weapons.

Ukrainian pilots still undergoing training to fly F-16s

According to RT, Ukrainian pilots are currently undergoing training to fly the fighter jets in Romania. A NATO-backed flight school for this purpose was opened in the country late last year. In March, Putin warned that the jets would be targeted by Russia at airfields in NATO member countries if they operate from there.

The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Belgium have all pledged to supply Ukraine with the F-16 jets, though none have so far been delivered to Kyiv. Earlier in May, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced that the first units would arrive "in the coming month."

In a recent development, the Belgian government announced that 30 F-16 jets would be sent to Ukraine, but with a caveat – these must only be used within Ukrainian airspace and not utilized to attack Russian targets directly.

"F-16 jets will be provided to Ukraine as soon as possible. Our aim is to be able to provide the first aircraft before the end of this year," Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on May 28. "Everything which is covered by this agreement is very clear – [they are] for utilization by the [Armed Forces of Ukraine] on [Ukrainian] territory."

Zelensky, who was in Belgium to meet with De Croo, lauded the announcement. "Our task is to use the first F-16 on the battlefield this year and, in such (a) way, fortify our positions," he said. With Belgium's latest pledge of 30, the number of jets Kyiv is expecting has increased to an estimated 85.

"The total count matters because it is anticipated that Ukraine will lose a large number of F-16s in what could be the most hazardous combat zone in its 50 years of aviation history," Great Game India pointed out.

"F-16s fitted with long-range missiles can help Ukraine strengthen its strike capability in addition to protecting its airspace, which is a helpful move as Kyiv attempts to stop Moscow's offensive in the conflict. [Despite restrictions,] Ukraine is still able to launch an F-16 attack into Russia from within its airspace."

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Watch this clip of Ukrainian pilots being trained to fly F-16 fighter jets in Denmark.

This video is from The Prisoner channel on

More related stories:

Ukrainians are not trained to operate U.S. F-16 fighter jets, would not be Russia-Ukraine war game-changer, says Jake Sullivan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov describes Russia-Ukraine chaos as one part of wider conflict with the West.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accuses West of sowing chaos globally to advance interests.

Netherlands, Denmark confirm U.S. approval of F-16s for Ukraine – but will it matter?

FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: Biden clears way for Ukraine to obtain F-16 fighter jets.

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