Russia warns against foreign support for Ukrainian air force

Russia warns against foreign support for Ukrainian air force

Russia has warned Ukraine’s neighbors against hosting Kiev’s military aircraft, saying that this could amount to their involvement in the conflict between Russia and the Zelensky government.

“We know for sure that Ukrainian combat aircraft have flown to Romania and other neighbouring countries,” Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a video briefing on Sunday.

“The use of the airfield network of these countries for basing Ukrainian military aviation with the subsequent use of force against Russia’s army can be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict,” he added.

The warning came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his country was in talks with Poland to orchestrate a deal that would allow Polish fighter jets to be flown by pilots from the Ukrainian air force.

“That gets the green light. In fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to backfill their needs if in fact they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians. What can we do?” Blinken said on CBS.

“How can we help to make sure that they get something to backfill the planes that they’re handing over to the Ukrainians?” he asked.

The deal would see Ukraine take over Polish MiG-29 warplanes, which would in turn be replaced by F-16 fighter jets provided by the United States.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” aimed at the denazificafion of Ukraine and the defence of the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognise Ukraine’s Western-backed government that to power in a CIA-orchestrated coup earlier that year.