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7 Apr, 2024 07:53

Russia calls out US over plans to militarize space

Washington uses hostile rhetoric and baseless allegations to cover up its own intentions to send weapons into space, Moscow claims
Russia calls out US over plans to militarize space

The US has been seeking to dismantle legally-binding international security mechanisms and replace them with vague norms of the so-called ‘rules-based world order’, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday. 

The remarks were in response to statements from the outgoing US assistant secretary of defense for space policy, John Plumb, at a Defense Writers Group meeting on Friday. According to Zakharova, Plumb dismissed Russian-Chinese initiatives on the prevention of an arms race in space as a “political ploy,” claiming that adherence to the deal would not be verifiable. 

“The US is an ardent opponent of Russian initiatives to prevent an arms race in outer space. Strong opposition to the aforementioned Russian-Chinese draft treaty has long been an integral part of American foreign policy,” Zakharova said in a Telegram post, referring to a 2008 draft agreement.

Instead, the US has been pursuing its own approach to keeping space free of weapons by promoting a “set of norms of ‘responsible’ behavior within the framework of their concept of a ‘rules-based world order,’” which is untenable both in technical and international legal terms, the spokeswoman said. 

Plumb’s remarks, as well as Washington’s ongoing activities in the UN Security Council with regard to nuclear weapons in space, are part of its longstanding efforts to dismantle the system of legally-binding security treaties, she claimed.

The Russian Embassy in the US provided a similar assessment of Plumb’s remarks, suggesting they are part of a concerted campaign to divert attention away from Washington’s own pursuits. “We consider the Pentagon’s manipulations of information to be further proof of US attempts to use Russophobic slogans to justify its own plans for militarizing space,” the mission said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Washington has been promoting a resolution on the non-deployment of nuclear weapons in space. The UN Security Council is set to vote on the US- and Japan- backed document next week, which, if adopted, would reaffirm that countries must fully comply with their obligations under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans weapons of mass destruction in space.

The resolution comes amid claims in the US media early this year that Russia is seeking to deploy anti-satellite nukes, or at least mock-ups, into space. Moscow has strongly denied the claims, with Russian President Vladimir Putin describing them as “unfounded accusations.”