NewsAmerican F-16 fighters for Ukraine could spark retaliation from Russia if operated from NATO bases

American F‑16 fighters for Ukraine could spark retaliation from Russia if operated from NATO bases

F-16 fighters are expected to arrive in Ukraine any moment now.
F-16 fighters are expected to arrive in Ukraine any moment now.
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu Agency

3:53 AM EST, December 14, 2023

Nearly two years have passed since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It's fair to say there's no indication that this war will end soon. Neither side is dominating the other, and the prospect of peace remains elusive.

The provision of military aid to Ukraine is currently uncertain, particularly when it comes to the packages previously offered by the United States. However, it's worth noting the support that has already been confirmed but is yet to arrive in Ukraine.

The conversation includes, among other things, F-16 fighters that are slated to provide substantial help to the Ukrainian military in air combat. The Ukrainian Defense Minister, Rustem Umerow, declared that these planes will be handed to soldiers shortly, a statement that is likely to provoke a response from the Russians.

Ukrainian F-16s at NATO country airports? Russia issues a stern warning

During the ongoing OSCE Forum on Security Cooperation in Vienna, Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation, warned NATO not to service Ukrainian F-16s at their airports. He stated that this act would be seen as Russia's direct involvement in the war, as the news agency TASS reported.

- We have heard suggestions that, due to significant damage to Ukrainian air infrastructure, the F-16s given to Ukraine might carry out their missions from airbases in Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. We vehemently caution that the deployment of these fighters from such NATO member states would be seen by Moscow as their involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, prompting Russia to take action. The United States and their allies are acting aggressively, and can no longer claim to have a purely defensive military doctrine - said Gavrilov.

This is not the first time the issue of Ukraine using neighboring countries' airports has surfaced, nor is it the first occurrence of controversy over Russia's role in aiding Ukraine.

Initially, Russia stated that merely providing military aid would be considered an aggressive action against the Russian Federation. Regardless, arms have been flowing into Ukraine for nearly two years now.

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