In an interview with Russian media, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are at risk of escalating their proxy war in Ukraine to a direct armed clash with Moscow over its decision to equip Ukraine with F-16s. (Related: RIGGED: Members of the British media have already written articles blaming Russia for a dirty bomb attack in Ukraine that hasn't even happened yet.)
"We have informed the nuclear powers – the United States, Britain and France – that Russia cannot ignore the ability of these aircraft to carry nuclear weapons. No amount of assurances will help here," said Lavrov.
"In the course of combat operations, our servicemen are not going to sort out whether each particular aircraft of this type is equipped to deliver nuclear weapons or not," added Lavrov. "We will regard the very fact that the Ukrainian armed forces have such systems as a threat from the West in the nuclear sphere."
This warning comes a little over a month after Lavrov first warned about how the Kremlin can't ignore the fact that F-16s are nuclear-capable fighter jets. They are capable of carrying the American-made B61 nuclear gravity bomb, which Washington stores in several European countries under NATO's nuclear sharing program and could be easily transferred to Ukraine.
"We must keep in mind that one of the modifications of the F-16 can 'accommodate' nuclear weapons," said Lavrov during a speech. "If they [the West] do not understand this, then they are worthless as military strategists and planners."
This comes several months after President Joe Biden gave the green light for European countries to deliver American-made F-16s to Ukraine after President Volodymyr Zelensky's long appeal for the jets, claiming their appearance over Ukrainian skies with Ukrainian pilots would be a signal of support from the world of Russia's supposedly inevitable defeat.
A coalition of 11 nations have agreed to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets in August, with the first series of training courses to be conducted in Denmark while Romania sets up an additional training center.
Denmark and the Netherlands will lead the international effort to train Ukrainians how to pilot, maintain and act as support staff for F-16s "at a basic and technical level," said Danish Acting Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen.
"It is a major long-term effort and therefore it is crucial that many nations now have joined forces to complete this task," he continued.
"Hopefully we will be able to see results in the beginning of next year," added Poulsen, who noted that it may take between six to eight months, at a minimum, to train F-16 pilots and crew.
In a statement, the Romanian government said its fighter pilot training facility will aim to position the country, which shares a long border with Ukraine, as "a regional leader in the field of F-16 pilot training" and contribute to "improving cohesion, demonstrating unity and strengthening the deterrence and defense posture of the Euro-Atlantic [region]."
The preliminary plan that the U.S. and NATO have come up with is to train 10 to 12 pilots and 30 to 40 support staff at the Skrydstrup Air Base in southern Denmark. The upcoming training center in Romania will be used to sustain all future training efforts.
Along with Denmark, Romania and the Netherlands, the other nations that have agreed to aid in the training of Ukrainian pilots and flight crew include Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Learn the latest news coming out of the conflict in Ukraine at UkraineWitness.com.
Watch this clip from "This Is My Show with Drew Berquist" as host Drew Berquist discusses Russia's warning against the West sending nuclear-capable F-16s to Ukraine.