White House Responds to Russian Foreign Minister Who Fears Escalation over Supply of F-16 Fighter Jets to Ukraine

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

The White House has commented on allegations by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who claimed that the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would lead to further escalation.

"The first thing I would say to Minister Lavrov is: If you’re worried about Ukrainian military capabilities, then you should take your troops and leave Ukraine," John Kirby, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, pointed out during a briefing.

Kirby stated that the F-16 jets would be provided as part of Ukraine's long-term defence plans. The idea is to help Ukraine meet its defence needs.

Earlier, Lavrov claimed that the West was preparing to escalate the war further. In particular, he claimed that one of the F-16 modifications is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Kirby countered by stating that it was not the US that was "tossing around reckless nuclear rhetoric; it’s people like Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Putin and – and Putin’s Press Secretary Peskov".

Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that several states which form part of the newly formed fighter-jet coalition had passed on specific proposals to Ukraine to provide F-16s.

The fighter-jet coalition for Ukraine currently includes eight European countries – the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal and France.

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