Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Moscow must keep in mind that American-made F-16 fighter jets are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The Russian diplomat made the comments when warning how the US and NATO are escalating their role in the conflict in Ukraine. President Biden recently signed off on European countries delivering US-made F-16s to Ukraine, although it’s not yet clear how many Kyiv will receive or when they will be delivered.
“Anything can be expected from the leaders of the US and other Western countries. They are already proving this when, following advanced long-range weapons and tanks, they are now seriously preparing F-16s,” Lavrov said during a visit to a Russian military base in Tajikistan.
“We must keep in mind that one of the modifications of the F-16 has the capability to deliver nuclear weapons,” Lavrov added.
F-16s are capable of carrying B61 nuclear gravity bombs, which the US stores in several European countries. Under NATO’s nuclear sharing program, there are US B61 nuclear bombs deployed in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was sending nuclear weapons to Belarus, he compared the move to NATO’s nuclear sharing program. He also said the deployment was in response to the UK providing Ukraine with depleted uranium ammunition.