“If they are used from airfields of third countries, they become a legitimate target for us, wherever they are located.”

Describing that US “satellites” in Eastern Europe (for example, Poland) have no reason to be afraid, he said, “The claims that we are going to attack Europe after Ukraine – it is utter nonsense and intimidation of their own population just to beat the money out of them.”

At the same meeting, he warned Ukraine’s Western allies against providing air bases in their countries from where the F-16s could launch sorties against the Kremlin’s forces, saying those bases would be a “legitimate target.” “We will destroy their warplanes just as we destroy their tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment, including multiple rocket launchers.” Significantly, he upped the ante with this threat, given he made clear that even bases in Western countries could be targeted if Ukraine flies sorties from them.