A Russian official says Western countries will be taking “huge risks” if they provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko answered a question on Saturday about the consequences of supplying the jets, which Ukraine has been asking for from NATO countries, according to the TASS news agency.
Grushko was reported as saying: “We see that Western countries are still following the escalation scenario. It involves huge risks for themselves.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been demanding for months the delivery of advanced fighter jets to bolster Ukraine’s defences against Russia’s invasion.
Zelenskyy on Saturday expressed his gratitude to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the G7 summit in Japan for his help in creating a coalition to supply Western fighter jets.
“We need to enhance [Ukraine’s] air defence capabilities, including the training of our pilots,” Zelenskyy wrote on his official Telegram channel.
The approval on F-16 training is the latest change by the Biden administration as it aims to equip Ukraine with more advanced and deadly weapons, following previous decisions to send rocket launcher systems and Abrams tanks. The United States has maintained it is sending weapons to Ukraine to protect itself and has warned against attacks by Ukraine into Russian territory.
Biden’s decisions on when, how many, and who will deliver the fourth-generation F-16 fighter jets will be taken in the coming months while pilot training is going on, he said.