Russia has no plans to attack any NATO member, including Poland, the Baltic states, or the Czech Republic, but if the West delivers F-16 jets to Ukraine, they will be shot down by Russian troops, according to President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has caused the most serious crisis in Russia’s ties with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Speaking to Russian air force pilots, Putin stated that the US-led military alliance had advanced eastward towards Russia since the Soviet Union’s demise in 1991, but Moscow had no ambitions to strike a NATO member state.

“We have no aggressive intentions towards these states,” Putin stated, according to a Kremlin transcript released on Thursday.

“The idea that we would invade another nation – Poland, the Baltic States, and the Czechs are also concerned – is utter rubbish. It’s just rubbish.

The Kremlin, which accuses the US of battling Russia by providing Ukraine with money, arms, and intelligence, claims ties with Washington have never been worse.

When asked about the F-16 fighters that the West has offered to deliver to Ukraine, Putin stated that such aircraft would not improve the situation in Ukraine.

“If they supply F-16s, and they are talking about this and are apparently training pilots, this will not change the situation on the battlefield,” Putin was quoted as saying.

“And we will destroy the aircraft just as we destroy today tanks, armoured vehicles and other equipment, including multiple rocket launchers.”

Putin said that the F-16 could potentially carry nuclear bombs.

“Of course, if they will be used from airfields in third countries, they become for us legitimate targets, wherever they might be located,” Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.

Putin’s statements came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said earlier in the day that the aircraft will arrive in Ukraine in the coming months.

Ukraine, which is more than two years into a full-fledged conflict with Russia, has been seeking F-16s for months.

Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands are among the countries that have agreed to donate F-16s. A coalition of countries has pledged to assist Ukrainian pilots in learning how to operate them.