Furious Russia vows nations giving jets 'facing huge risks' as Zelensky meets G7 leaders

Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko has warned that Western countries will be running “colossal risks” if they supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. This comes as the US gave the greenlight to Western allies supplying Ukraine with advanced fighter jets, including American-made F-16s. The announcement is a major military boost for Kyiv, which President Zelensky hailed as “historic”.

Mr Grushko said: “We see that Western countries are still adhering to the escalation scenario. It involves colossal risks for themselves.

“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.”

President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that the US supports joint allied training programmes for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s

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Kyiv’s defence minister, Oleksii Rezniko, was delighted with the news, saying that Ukrainian pilots “are looking forward to starting their training” on the fighter jets.

He tweeted: “They will now be able to support their brothers and sisters-in-arms on land and on sea to win this war.

“Looks like Santa Claus does exist.”

The decision paves the way for countries including the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to give Ukraine some of their own planes.

Alexandre Vautravers, editor-in-chief of the Swiss Military Review, said Russia’s warning is likely a bluff.

He told Al Jazeera: “Every time a new weapon system has been given to Ukraine, we have heard a lot of rhetoric – but very little in the way of action from Russia.

“I think the rhetoric today is not a sufficient deterrence.”

Meanwhile, President Zelensky has hit the ground running during his trip to the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

He first met with British PM Rishi Sunak, where he thanked him for the “UK’s leadership in the international fighter coalition”

The Ukrainian leader also met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, French President Emmanuel Macron and India’s PM Narendra Modi.

The BBC’s international editor Jeremy Bowen said the US’ announcement was “very significant”, but added there were still many issues that needed to be figured out.

He said: “It’s not even quite clear where the physical aircraft are going to come from.”

Mr Bown said the jets will “absolutely not” be used in Ukraine’s much-touted counter-offensive.

source: express.co.uk