Russiaís President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on September 12, 2023. (AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet again warned the West about sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, saying that the move will only prolong the conflict.
Addressing an economic forum in Russiaís Far East on Tuesday, the Russian president dismissed the significance of recent announcements by Ukrainian officials that their armed forces would soon receive F-16 fighter jets from the West.
"They are going to deliver F-16s. Will this change anything? I donít think so. It will just prolong the conflict."
US officials said last month that Washington had approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands.
The aircraft, which is equipped with a 20mm cannon and can carry bombs, rockets and missiles, has been on Ukraineís wish list for a long time.
Norway said last month that it will deliver a number of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere announced the decision, without telling the exact number of the jets.
Denmark will also provide Ukraine with 19 jets in total with the initial six due around the end of the year, followed by eight in 2024 and five in 2025, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said last month.
The Netherlands has 42 F-16s available but has yet to decide whether all of them will be donated.
Ukraineís President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the donations a "breakthrough agreement," saying that the planes would strengthen Ukraineís air defenses and help its counter-offensive against Russian forces.
Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in early June, hoping to push south toward the Crimean Peninsula by the end of the year.
In his remarks at the forum, President Putin also said that the counteroffensive, which is its four months, has made no progress.
He said Ukraine has lost 71,500 troops in an effort that has so far produced "no results."
The US intelligence agencies also warned earlier this month that the counteroffensive would stall before reaching the key southeastern city of Melitopol.