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Denmark allows Ukraine to use F-16s against military targets within Russia, dismisses Russian threats

Denmark’s foreign minister says Ukraine can attack Russian military assets with Danish F-16 fighters, brushing off Moscow’s threats of retaliation as mere “propaganda war”.
denmark allows ukraine use f-16s against military targets within russia dismisses russian threats danish foreign minister lars løkke rasmussen ida marie odgaard/ritzau scanpix kristeligt dagblad 2024053010362931_1000
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix via Kristeligt Dagblad.
Denmark allows Ukraine to use F-16s against military targets within Russia, dismisses Russian threats

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has dismissed Russia’s warning of “monstrous consequences” if Ukraine uses Danish F-16 fighter jets against Russia’s territory as part of the Russian “propaganda war,” and said Kyiv can strike military targets within Russia with Danish-supplied.

Rasmussen said Danes should not be worried about an actual Russian military attack on Denmark, although there is “a risk of cyber attacks,” according to Kristeligt Dagblad.

Last fall, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands committed to supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets starting in 2025. Currently, the total number of pledged F-16s is about 80. Kyiv has been urgently requesting more advanced jets to strengthen its air force against Russia’s larger and more technologically advanced fleet. At the same time, many Ukrainian allies impose restrictions on the weapons they supply, stipulating that they must only be used within Ukraine and not for targeting Russian territory.

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, had threatened that Russia would view the presence of F-16s in Ukraine as a “nuclear threat” since the jets could deliver nuclear weapons against Russia. Barbin’s comments were in response to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who stated on 28 May that Ukraine is permitted to use Danish weapons on Russian territory, provided it aligns with international law.

However, Rasmussen sees the Russian statements as part of “harsh rhetoric” in the propaganda war, adding,

“There is a risk of cyber attacks, and we must not be naive. But if we are talking about a risk of an actual attack on our territory, that is not something I am worried about.”

He stressed that providing the jets does not give Ukraine “carte blanche” for “indiscriminate attacks into Russia” but the right to strike military targets there under the laws of war since Russia has opened a new front across the northeastern border.

We’re talking about an opportunity to weaken the aggressor by taking out military installations [such as weapons depots] on Russian territory,” says Lars Løkke Rasmussen, adding that “It is completely within the rules of war that a country under attack must be able to respond. That also includes the right to go after installations on the attacking party’s own territory.”

Earlier, Belgium announced delivery of 30 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by 2028, with initial aircraft arriving this year, but Belgian Prime Minister De Croo noted that the jets must be used exclusively on Ukrainian soil.

On 29 May, German Chancellor Scholz’s spokesperson clarified to reporters that Ukraine’s “defensive action is not limited to one’s own territory, but [can] also be expanded to the territory of the aggressor.

Earlier, French President Macron said Ukraine should be allowed to use Western-supplied weapons against Russian military installations on Russia’s territory.

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