Providing Ukraine with F-16 fighters will not change the situation on the ground

President Vladimir Putin told military pilots on Wednesday that if Western countries supply Ukraine with F-16 fighters, those planes will not change the situation on the battlefield, Russian news agencies reported.
“Fighters can carry nuclear weapons and Moscow will have to take this into account in its military planning,” Putin said.

He pointed out that “if these aircraft were launched from the territory of a third country, they would become a legitimate target.”
He added: “The F-16 fighters will be destroyed just like other Western equipment that was delivered to Kiev.”
In response to a question regarding his assessment of the Air Force’s performance in the war in Ukraine, Putin said: “Great. Everyone works perfectly, and they contribute greatly to achieving a common goal,” he said, noting that Russian military aviation is doing very hard work, praising the performance of army aviation, bombers, as well as military transport aviation.

Putin’s statements to the pilots during a meeting north of Moscow followed comments made earlier today by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in which he said that “the planes should arrive in Ukraine in the coming months.”

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