U.S. warned of ‘Russian response’ if F-16s used to attack Crimea

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The transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would raise the question of NATO’s involvement in the conflict, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said in remarks published early on Monday.

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“There is no infrastructure for the operation of the F-16 in Ukraine and the needed number of pilots and maintenance personnel is not there either,” Antonov said in remarks published on the embassy’s Telegram messaging channel.

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“What will happen if the American fighters take off from NATO airfields, controlled by foreign ‘volunteers?’”

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday endorsed training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured Biden that the aircraft would not be used to go into Russian territory.


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Antonov said that any Ukrainian strike on Crimea would be considered a strike on Russia.

“It is important that the United States be fully aware of the Russian response,” Antonov said.

Ukraine has intensified its strikes on Russian-held targets, especially on the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

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