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American Authorities Claim Russia Used Weapon to Attack Satellites in Space

Ambassador Robert Wood made reference to a suspected Russian space weapon launch during his speech at the United Nations Security Council.

Reports from U.S. military and diplomatic officials this week suggest that Russia may have launched a new “counter-space weapon” that poses a threat to satellite networks.

In his remarks at the U.N. Security Council on Monday, U.S. alternate representative for special political affairs Ambassador Robert Wood hinted at the suspected Russian space weapon launch ahead of a vote on a Russian-proposed resolution to ban space weapons.

Ambassador Wood mentioned that Russia had previously blocked a proposal to ban the development of nuclear weapons for Earth’s orbit and criticized the rushed nature of the new Russian proposal that disregarded concerns from the majority of the Council.

Ambassador Wood cited the suspected Russian space launch while urging Security Council members to vote against the Russian resolution.

He stated, “On May 16, Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit, believed by the United States to be a counter-space weapon capable of attacking satellites in low Earth orbit. This new weapon was launched into the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite. Prior launches by Russia in 2019 and 2022 also likely involved counter-space systems.”

During the vote on the Russian proposal, Algeria, China, Ecuador, Guyana, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone supported Russia. France, Japan, Malta, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States opposed the resolution, while Switzerland abstained.

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During a press briefing on Tuesday, Pentagon press secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder reiterated concerns about the Russian space launch on May 16.

Maj. Gen. Ryder stated, “Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we assess to be a counter-space weapon capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit. Russia placed this new weapon into the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite. Our assessments suggest similarities with previously deployed counter-space systems from 2019 and 2022. We will continue to monitor this situation.”

Maj. Gen. Ryder emphasized the United States’ obligation to protect and defend the space domain and strive for stability and sustainability in space.

Suspected Space Weapon

The term “counter-space weapon” covers various capabilities, including missiles designed to physically destroy satellites, grappling devices to control satellites’ movement, and laser dazzlers to disable space-based optical sensors.

Maj. Gen. Ryder did not disclose specific details on how the U.S. government believes the Russian satellite could disrupt other satellites in orbit beyond its orbital path.

In recent years, the U.S. government has expressed concerns about Russian “inspector” craft deployed from satellites to approach objects in space. U.S. Space Command has indicated that the May 16 Russian space launch involved an inspector satellite.

NTD News reached out to U.S. SPACECOM for additional information but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Russia’s Roscosmos space agency announced in a social media post that a recent space launch included a spacecraft, but did not provide further details.

‘Fake News’

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov criticized the U.S. government for spreading false information about the May 16 Russian satellite launch.

Mr. Ryabkov dismissed the claims as “fake news” during an interview with TASS news agency, asserting that Russia opposes placing attack weapons in low-Earth orbit. He defended Russia’s satellite launches as intended for defense purposes and suggested that the U.S. should reconsider its position on space weapons if it truly values space security.

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