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Putin declares F16 jets deployed from third-party territories as legitimate targets

Russian President Vladimir Putin declares F-16 jets deployed from third-party territories as legitimate targets, escalating tensions in Eastern Europe.

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning on Wednesday, asserting that F-16 fighters supplied to Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets by Russia if they were employed from third-party territories, regardless of their location.

During a dialogue with military pilots in the Tver region, Putin emphasized, “If they are used from airfields of third countries, they become a legitimate target for us, no matter where they are.” This statement escalates tensions amid ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe.

Ukraine has persistently sought F16 fighters from its allies, with Western countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States actively involved in training Ukrainian pilots. However, the West has underscored the necessity of comprehensive pilot and ground service personnel training before the transfer of such aircraft to Kiev.

Denmark, the Netherlands, the United States, and other Western nations have been engaged in preparing Ukrainian pilots for operating F16s. Nevertheless, they caution against overestimating the impact of these fighter jets. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted that while the F-16s would bolster Ukrainian capabilities to some extent, they would not fundamentally alter the conflict’s dynamics in the region.

The declaration by Putin adds a new dimension to the ongoing geopolitical tensions, raising concerns about potential escalation and the broader implications for regional security. As diplomatic efforts continue to navigate the delicate balance of power in Eastern Europe, Putin’s warning underscores the volatile nature of the situation and the challenges facing efforts to de-escalate tensions.

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