Russia Warns “Small Countries With Dense Population” Of Nuke Mayhem If F-16s Hit Targets Inside Country

Even as the demand grows across NATO to allow Ukraine to use Western weapons to strike targets inside Russia, there is now jubilation after the Dutch Foreign Minister hinted that the F-16 fighters from the Netherlands could be deployed to hit Russian territory.

The Dutch Foreign Minister, Hanke Bruins Slot, announced on May 31 that the Netherlands would not object if Ukraine used F-16 fighter jets that it supplied to strike targets within Russia in self-defense, as reported by Ukrainian media.

“If you have the right to self-defense, there are no borders for the use of weapons. This is a general principle,” the Dutch minister said at an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague.

The statement follows a similar position taken by Denmark. It stated that it would be fair for Ukraine to use the F-16 aircraft that Denmark had given to attack military targets within Russian territory. “It is completely within the rules of war that a country that is attacked must be able to answer for itself,” Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels.

The Danish Foreign Minister, however, emphasized that Ukraine was not being given a “carte blanche” to invade Russia arbitrarily but an opportunity to take advantage of the possibilities that could weaken the Russian military by attacking installations behind the borders.

Ukraine will get F-16 Fighting Falcons from countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium. The United States approved the transfer of these fighters. It may be necessary to consider that approval from Washington may be required for these aircraft in combat operations targeting Russian territory, as the United States sold them.

Additionally, social media was awash with the perception that the F-16s would indeed be seen attacking Russia soon — without any official acknowledgment from the Pentagon. Widespread jubilation could be seen among pro-Ukraine bloggers, war trackers, and analysts watching and reporting the developments from the battlefield.

The statements from Dutch and Danish ministers, however, come against the backdrop of the growing momentum among NATO states to permit Ukraine to strike within Russian territory with the weapons transferred by the alliance states.

In fact, after a long period of reluctance, there is indication that the US may have allowed Ukraine to strike Russia using its weapons. President Joe Biden has authorized Ukraine to use American munitions to launch strikes inside Russian territory with a caveat that Kyiv can only attack targets close to Kharkiv, where Russia has made significant advances lately.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the news on May 31, saying: “Over the past few weeks, Ukraine came to us and asked for the authorization to use weapons that were provided to defend against this aggression (near Kharkiv), including against Russian forces that are massing on the Russian side of the border,” as reported by CNN.

The senior US official pointed out that Biden was presented with the request, and he approved their use. Blinken responded that in the future, the US would “adapt and adjust” when asked if the door was open for Ukraine to launch more attacks into Russia.

Blinken did not mention whether the F-16s would be permitted to strike in Russian territory. For instance, despite mounting pressure, the Biden Administration had not permitted Ukraine to fire long-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which can reach targets up to 200 miles or 300 kilometers away, into Russia.

F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Royal Danish Air Force – Wikimedia Commons

Several NATO allies, including France and Germany, have given authorization to strike Russian territory. The effort appeared to be spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said earlier this week that Kyiv should be allowed to “neutralize” military bases from where Russian troops are firing missiles into Ukraine.

These decisions come as leaders in Ukraine have said that limitations on their ability to employ these weapons have essentially given the Russians the freedom to attack their country from Russian territory without much fear of reprisals. However, as expected, these permissions haven’t gone down well with Russia which has issued a stern warning in response.

Russia’s Fiery Warning To NATO

In response to Ukraine’s partners in NATO relaxing their policies one after the other, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened “serious consequences” and laid special emphasis on his country’s nuclear might.

“This constant escalation can lead to serious consequences,” Putin said during a visit to Uzbekistan.

“In Europe, especially in small countries, they should be aware of what they are playing with,” he said, noting that many European countries had “small territory” and a “dense population. And this factor, which they should keep in mind before they talk about striking deep into Russian territory, is a serious thing,” he said.

File Image: Iskander Ballistic missile

On May 31, the Head of the Defense Committee in the Russian lower house, Andrei Kartapolov, stated that Moscow would use US-supplied weaponry to respond asymmetrically to any attacks on its territory.

Further, senior Russian security official Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia was serious when it hinted at the prospect of using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine and that the country’s dispute with the West might turn into a full-scale war—EurAsian Times noted in previous reports that Russia has continued to engage in nuclear saber-rattling since the initial days of the invasion

The Western leaders have remained reluctant to supply certain weapon systems and authorize their use to hit Russia for fear of an escalation that could trigger a war between Russia and NATO.

However, with Russia launching high-stakes attacks every day and advancing into Kharkiv, NATO states have rallied in support of hitting back using long-range Western weapons to weaken the advance.