A Newsweek reference on Tuesday to a Greek news website’s claim of Hellenic Air Force F-16s being potentially transferred to Ukraine generated a generalized but overtly threatening reaction on Wednesday by the Russian embassy in Athens.

The international media and social media speculation in the wake of the Newsweek article, entitled “Ukraine Eyes Unexpected F-16 Boost from European Ally”, also sparked an immediate – albeit unnamed – response by Greek defense ministry circles, who flatly denied the media claim.

“There’s no issue of Greek F-16s being transferred to Ukraine. Everything else is unbridled fantasy,” was the crux of the unofficial response.

Nevertheless, in a Greek-language post on its Facebook page ostensibly quoting Vladimir Putin, the Russian embassy announcement ominously ended with the statement: “However, we remember the fate of those who once sent their troops to our country. Yet now the consequences for potential intruders will be far more dire.”

Although the post repeats Moscow’s protestations of the West causing the conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East and other regions and “continuing to lie”, it avoids specific a reference to Greece or specifically the prospect of the US-made fighter planes in the country’s arsenal being shipped to Ukraine. However, the timing of the FB post is telling, along with the last paragraph. In breaking down the phrase “we remember the fate of those who once sent their troops to our country”, history buffs infer that the thinly-veiled warning correlates with a sizeable Greek army contingent that participated in the ill-fated Southern Russia intervention (December 1918 to April 1919), an Allied military intervention on the Black Sea shores of the former Russian empire and modern-day Ukraine after the October Revolution.

The Newsweek article also mentioned last week’s comments by Greek DM Nikos Dendias, who had referred to a need to reduce the number of older fighter planes (F-16 Block 30) in the Hellenic Air Force’s fleet, as well as to phase-out two older types of warplanes, namely, the F-4 “Phantom” and the Mirage 2000-5.