Countries that host Ukrainian military aircraft will be involved in “an armed conflict”, Russian authorities said in a statement on Sunday. The warning from Kremlin was directed towards Romania, a member of the NATO alliance.
Igor Konashenkov, the spokesperson for Russia’s defence ministry said in a prerecorded video statement, “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.”
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Konashenkov added, “We know for sure that Ukrainian combat aircraft have flown to Romania and other neighbouring countries”, according to reports from AFP.
Romania swiftly responded to the threat issued from Moscow on Sunday, and labeled the comment as “pure rhetoric.”
Nicolae Ciuca, the Romanian Prime Minister said in a televised interview, “It is pure rhetoric designed to divert attention from what is really happening on the ground — civilians killed, the rules of armed conflict flouted.”
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, meanwhile has been urging allies in the west to establish a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine in order to curb attacks from the Russian forces. Russia, in response to the request, said that any country that agrees will be considered a party to the ongoing conflict.
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In a private video call with American lawmakers over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a “desperate” plea to the United States to help Kyiv get more warplanes to fight Russia’s invasion and retain control of its airspace, according to reports from Associated Press.
United States has also agreed to the request from Ukraine and is “very, very actively” looking to respond, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Poland is being asked to supply Soviet-era fighters to Ukraine in return for American F-16s.