Russia says supplying F-16s to Ukraine would carry ‘huge’ risks for the West, TASS reports

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko was quoted by TASS news agency on Saturday as saying that Western countries would face “grave risks” if they supplied Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.

Grushko was responding to a question about the implications of providing the aircraft, which Ukraine demands from NATO countries.

Senior US officials said they had not yet won commitments to deliver the planes, but US President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that Washington supports joint allied training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s.

“We see that Western countries are still committed to the scenario of escalation. It entails serious risks for themselves,” Grushko was quoted as saying.

“In any case, this will be taken into account in all our plans, and we have all the necessary means to achieve the goals we have set.”

“We will win this war,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Col. Yuriy Ignat told Espresso TV once Kiev deployed the F-16s, as they could provide defensive cover in areas that were out of range of anti-aircraft missiles.

“We need the F-16s to become an integral part of our air defense. These fighters can engage air targets from high and low altitudes,” he said, adding that the planes could carry advanced weapons.

“With the use of F-16s, our ground forces will be able to quickly liberate the occupied Ukrainian territories by targeting enemy command posts, military groups and logistical supply chains,” he said.

Reporting by Reuters. Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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