Politics & News

Putin: No Attack on NATO, But F-16s at Risk

Amid Western fears of Russia’s Ukrainian invasion, President Vladimir Putin of Russia ruled out attacking NATO, yet he said that Russian forces would shoot down F-16s supplied by the West to Ukraine.

Additionally, Putin stated, “The idea that we will attack some other country – Poland, the Baltic States, and the Czechs are also being scared – is complete nonsense. It’s just drivel.” according to a transcript from the Kremlin that was made public on Thursday.

He said that Russia is ready to demolish the planes in the same way that it already did with tanks, armored cars, and other weapons, such as many rocket launchers. According to Putin, the F-16 is also capable of carrying nuclear missiles.

Putin’s statements came after Dmytro Kuleba, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, stated earlier that the plane should land in Ukraine in the upcoming months.

Putin told Russian air force pilots that although the NATO military alliance, which is led by the U.S., has grown eastward towards Russia since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Moscow has no intention of attacking a NATO member state.

Earlier this month, Putin said on Rossiya-1 television that Russia is ready  for nuclear war and that the deployment of American soldiers in Ukraine would be a major escalation of the battle.

Responding to this statement, Senior Ukrainian presidential official Mykhailo Podolyak said that he saw Putin’s nuclear threat as scare tactics meant to terrify the West.

“Realizing that things are going the wrong way; Putin continues to use classic nuclear rhetoric. With the old Soviet hope – ‘be scared and retreat!'” said Podolyak.

Notably, in February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. The dispute between Russia and Ukraine started because Ukraine wanted to join NATO. Russia, on the other hand, rejected this proposal because it saw NATO as a danger to its security. Following many conversations between the two nations, Ukraine became adamant about joining NATO. As a result, Russia has attacked Ukraine militarily.

The situation in Ukraine greatly impacts its infrastructure, social fabric, and economy. Furthermore, the circumstances in Ukraine have significantly impacted the security and stability of the region. This crisis sparked the biggest crisis in Russia’s relations with the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Russia, West Relations

Relations with Washington, according to the Kremlin, have probably never been worse. It charges that by giving Ukraine cash, weaponry, and intelligence support, Washington is working against Russia.

The Russia-West relationship traces back to the Cold War. It was when the Soviet Union and the Western bloc, led by the United States, dominated global politics.

Following the fall of Soviet Union, NATO expanded into Eastern Europe. Russia saw this as a security threat. This, in return, strained relations between Russia and the West. Western interventions in the Balkans, Iraq, and Libya fueled Russian suspicions.

The Ukraine crisis in 2014 marked a significant turning point in Russia-West relations. Russia’s annexation of Crimea triggered a sharp deterioration in relations. This led to sanctions imposed by the West against Russia due to its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine deepened divisions. It also underscored the challenges of reconciling differing interpretations of sovereignty, self-determination, and territorial integrity.

Besides, Russia’s military intervention in Syria in 2015 further complicated its relationship with the West. Russia framed its intervention as a counterterrorism effort and a defense of Syrian sovereignty. However, western powers criticized Russia’s support for the Assad regime and accused it of exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

These political conflicts affected the economy for both sides. Two years after Russia invaded Ukraine, the US, the UK, and the EU imposed more sanctions on the country. They imposed more than 16,500 sanctions on Russia. Russia’s wealth has been their primary objective. About half of its total funds, or $350 billion (£276 billion), were frozen in foreign exchange.

EU believes that Moscow weaponized the gas supplies as a response to its sanctions of Russia.  Moscow reduced supplies via Nord Stream 1 to 40% of its capacity in June 2022. In the following month of the same year, it reduced gas to 20% , blaming maintenance problems and sanctions that it says prevent the return and installation of equipment.

Finally, the future of Russia-West relations remains uncertain. Even with the use of diplomatic channels for communication and interaction, there are still problems, such as strategic rivalry and cybersecurity risks.

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