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Putin warns Russia will shoot down F-16s in Ukraine, but not NATO


President Vladimir Putin said late on Wednesday that although Russia has no plans to strike any NATO nation, it would shoot down F-16 planes supplied by the West to Ukraine. Russia will also not attack Poland, the Baltic countries, or the Czech Republic.


As a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, relations between Russia and the West are at their worst point since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.


Speaking to pilots in the Russian air force, Putin said that while the military alliance headed by the United States had moved closer to Russia in the east since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow had no intention of attacking a NATO member.



Putin said, "We have no aggressive intentions towards these states," as per a transcript from the Kremlin that was made public on Thursday.



"It is total nonsense to think that we will attack another nation; Poland, the Baltic States, and even the Czechs are afraid." This is nothing but nonsense.



The Kremlin claims that ties with Washington have likely never been worse. It accuses Washington of acting against Russia by providing money, weapons, and intelligence assistance to Ukraine.



In response to a question on the F-16 fighters that the West has pledged to provide to Ukraine, Putin said such aircraft would not alter the circumstances there.



"Supplying F-16s and training pilots, according to Putin, will have no impact on the situation on the battlefield," the Russian President stated.



"We will dismantle the aircraft, just as we dismantle tanks, armoured vehicles, and other equipment, including multiple rocket launchers."



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



"If these weapons are deployed from airfields in third countries, they become legitimate targets for us, regardless of their location," stated Putin.



Putin's statements came after Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, said earlier in the day that the plane should land in Ukraine in the following months.



With the conflict against Russia raging for almost two years, Ukraine has been looking for F-16s for many months.



Several nations, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium, have promised to contribute F-16s. Several countries have pledged their support in providing training for Ukrainian pilots.

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