Russia says transferring F-16s to Ukraine would raise questions about NATO involvement
(Reuters) – The transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would raise questions about NATO’s involvement in the conflict, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said in a statement. remarks published Monday morning.
“There is no infrastructure for the operation of the F-16 in Ukraine, and the necessary number of pilots and maintenance personnel is not there either,” Antonov said in remarks published on the channel. Embassy’s Telegram messenger.
“What will happen if American fighters take off from NATO airfields, controlled by foreign ‘volunteers’?”
US President Joe Biden on Friday approved training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy assured Biden the plane would not be used to fly into Russian territory.
Antonov said any Ukrainian strike against Crimea would be considered a strike against Russia.
“It is important that the United States is fully aware of the Russian response,” Antonov said.
Ukraine has stepped up its strikes against Russian-held targets, particularly on the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Kim Coghill and Stephen Coates)