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Putin Warns NATO That Bases with Ukrainian F-16s Are Legitimate Targets

A Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16. youtube.com
A Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16. youtube.com

On Wednesday, Russian President Valdimir Putin told a group of his country’s air force pilots that Western supplied F-16s for Ukraine would be considered “legitimate targets” if they are stored in facilities located in the territory of NATO members.

When asked about possible operations against Ukraine's allies in Europe, the newly reelected leader responded by saying that there are "no aggressive intentions towards these states," but clarified that if the donated aircraft would be "used from airfields in third countries, they become for us legitimate targets, wherever they might be located."

Putin appeared to justify this policy because the American built jets can carry nuclear weapons.

The remarks were in response to Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, telling reporters earlier in the day that he expects to receive a consignment of the advanced fighters in the coming months. Belgium, Denmark, and Norway have pledged to supply the warplanes from their own inventories.

Putin later told the gathering that the upgrading of Ukraine’s air forces “won’t change the situation on the battlefield.”

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