Russia threatens military strikes on Western countries if Ukraine’s newly-donated F-16s are based in NATO territory
Russia has threatened to attack Western countries with missile strikes if Ukraine's newly donated F-16 fighters are on NATO territory.
Such an act by Vladimir Putin would certainly also trigger a Third World War scenario between the West and Russia.
It comes as the Kremlin today warned that a nuclear world war is closer than at any time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
Maria Zakharova – spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry – warned the West that the advanced F-16 fighter jets supplied to Ukraine will be a good target for Russia if they are stationed in NATO countries.
She said the fourth-generation fighter jets could be based in Poland, Slovakia and Romania, meaning NATO is delving “deeper” into the Ukrainian conflict.
“Many questions have been asked about the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine,” said 47-year-old Zakharova.
She continued: “I would like to say that, as you understand, NATO member states continue to intensively arm Ukraine and the supply of tactical fighters is the next step.
Russia has threatened to attack Western countries with missile strikes if Ukraine's newly donated F-16 fighters (pictured over Romania in November) are on NATO territory
Maria Zakharova – spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry – warned the West that the advanced F-16 fighter jets supplied to Ukraine will be a good target for Russia if they are stationed in NATO countries
Russia has threatened to attack Western countries with missile strikes if Ukraine's newly donated F-16 fighters are on NATO territory
“Given that a significant portion of Ukraine's airfield infrastructure has been destroyed, it is possible that these US warplanes will be stationed outside the country, in Poland, Slovakia and Romania.
'The North Atlantic Alliance is becoming increasingly deeply involved in the Ukrainian conflict.'
In August, the United States agreed to send F-16 fighter jets from Denmark and the Netherlands to Ukraine to defend against Russia. They are expected to arrive in Ukraine next year.
Zakharova, who holds the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, is Russia's highest-ranking female diplomat and has issued a specific threat against NATO countries on behalf of her boss, Putin's hawkish 73-year-old Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Zakharova continued: “The West is waging a hybrid war against our country under the slogan of saving Ukraine.
“At the same time, they also agreed that their main goal is to avoid a confrontation with Russia.
'Funny. In reality, the risks of a direct military clash between Russia and NATO are only increasing.
“For the Russian armed forces, fighters participating in the conflict on the side of the Ukrainian forces, regardless of where they fly from, will be a legitimate target for destruction.”
Her blast coincided with a warning from the deputy head of Russia's Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, a former Kremlin president and prime minister.
“Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis has the threat of a direct clash between Russia and NATO, leading to World War III, been more real,” he said.
More than 21 months after Europe's biggest conflict since World War II, fighting in Ukraine rages on with no end in sight, and neither side has struck a decisive blow on the battlefield.
Ukrainian soldiers, living in icy trenches, acknowledge they are exhausted as they face a second winter of full-scale war with a nuclear-armed, resource-rich superpower that has more than three times Ukraine's population.
Ukrainian military soldiers shoot from the MT-12 or 2A29 gun 'Rapira' is a Soviet 100mm smoothbore anti-tank gun on December 7 in Avdiivka, Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers leave a Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on December 7
The Ukrainians know they need Western military help to continue – and that it will become more difficult as the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza diverts global attention.
Russian forces, occupying about 17.5% of Ukraine, are again on the offensive in the east, having largely withstood a Ukrainian counter-offensive that was unable to punch through vast defense lines in the south and east .
The bleak outlook is in stark contrast to the upbeat mood in Kiev a year ago, after Ukrainians defied expectations by beating back Russian forces around their capital before recapturing territory in the northeast and south, including the city of Kherson.
The toll continues to rise in a war that has already killed or injured hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed Ukrainian cities and towns, driven millions from their homes and placed hundreds of thousands more under occupation.
But the passage of vital military and financial aid from the West is no longer smooth.
On Wednesday, US Senate Republicans gave Putin “the greatest gift he could hope for” by blocking a £50 billion package of war funding for Ukraine, President Joe Biden said.
Biden had made the case to Republicans for a new injection of military aid to Ukraine, warning that a victory for Russia over Ukraine would put Moscow in a position to attack NATO allies and could draw US troops into a war.
But hours later, Senate Republicans defiantly voted to block £50.3 billion in funding for Ukraine, in a devastating blow to Volodymyr Zelensky.
That was part of a broader package of £87 billion ($110 billion) in war funding for Israel, as well as other national security priorities.
Biden lashed out at Republicans for the move, saying they are “willing to literally put Ukraine on the battlefield” and give Putin “the greatest gift he could hope for.”
“They are willing to literally put Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process,” an angry Biden said earlier. He had warned that without much-needed aid funding, the Ukrainian army could be overrun.
“If Putin takes over Ukraine, he won't stop there,” Biden said earlier. Putin will attack a NATO ally, he predicted, and then “we will have something that we haven't seen and that we don't have today: American troops fighting Russian troops,” Biden added.
And within hours of the vote, a smug Kremlin said Russia hopes the US Congress will block future aid to Ukraine. Moscow also accused Biden of playing the Russian threat card to secure money.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Biden wanted to “continue burning taxpayers' money in the furnace of war.”