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Russian aggressive rhetoric intensifies as Ukraine nears F-16 delivery

Russia warns Ukraine and the West that F-16 fighter jets will be regarded as nuclear-capable aircraft while the US sees no signs of Russia preparing to use nuclear weapons, despite the country’s aggressive rhetoric.
F16 combat fighter jet to ukraine
A F-16 fighter jet. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Russian aggressive rhetoric intensifies as Ukraine nears F-16 delivery

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned Kyiv that no matter what modification of F-16 jets is supplied to Ukraine, Russia will treat them as nuclear-capable and consider the delivery of aircraft as a purposeful provocation of the US and NATO, according to Newsweek.

Last week, Ukraine’s military said fighter jets would be ready for battle after Orthodox Easter which was celebrated on 5 May. While F-16s can accommodate certain nuclear weapons in the right configuration, Ukraine does not have a nuclear arsenal and there have been no indications that any of its allies plan to deploy them to Kyiv.

Moreover, John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the White House, said that to protect its troops from being hit by Western-made weapons, Russia should simply withdraw them from the territory of Ukraine. In addition, Kirby claimed that the US sees no signs of Russia preparing to use nuclear weapons, despite the country’s “aggressive rhetoric,” according to the Voice of America.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has also warned that Ukraine and “its Western sponsors should realize that their reckless steps are bringing the situation closer to the point where it will attain ‘critical mass’ and explode.” The statement came after more than two years of daily shelling and missile and drone attacks.

Earlier, the Russian government criticized French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion to send its troops in the Russia-Ukraine war, saying that the West is “deliberately trying to turn the Ukrainian crisis into an open military clash between NATO countries and Russia.”

Several NATO leaders quickly downplayed such a possibility. Later, some nations mentioned that the deployment of non-combat troops should not be ruled out. Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said that deploying NATO troops to Ukraine was “not unthinkable,” while Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė endorsed Macron’s strategy of “strategic ambiguity” about the deployment option, suggesting it effectively counters Putin’s unpredictability.

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