Putin tests anti-satellite weapon in space: US and Britain say Russia have ‘threatened peace in space’ and created ‘serious risk’

  • The United States has described the event as a test of an anti-satellite weapon
  • UK accused Russia of launching a projectile ‘with characteristics of a weapon’
  • It is first time the Ministry of Defence has called out Russian activity of this sort

Vladimir Putin has tested an anti-satellite weapon in space that UK and US authorities have condemned as a ‘serious risk’ and ‘threat to peace.’ 

The US space command today said Russia ‘injected a new object into orbit’ from the satellite Cosmos 2543. It is the same satellite that was earlier this year located looming close to an American satellite. 

Russia’s latest foray into the cosmos brought a swift rebuke from US authorities who said the testing holds ‘US and allied space assets at risk.’ 

The UK also criticised Russia saying the projectile could ‘threaten the peaceful use of space’  and called on them to avoid any similar testing.

General Jay Raymond, US Space Force chief of space operations said: ‘The Russian satellite system used to conduct this on-orbit weapons test is the same satellite system that we raised concerns about earlier this year, when Russia manoeuvred near a US government satellite.

Russian President Vladimir Putin participates in a video call at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow today

‘This is further evidence of Russia’s continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems, and consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine to employ weapons that hold US and allied space assets at risk.’

The UK said the launching of the projectile  ‘with the characteristics of a weapon’ and warned that it could ‘threaten the peaceful use of space’.

It is the first time the Ministry of Defence has called out Russian activity of this sort. 

The head of the UK’s space directorate, Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, said: ‘We are concerned by the manner in which Russia tested one of its satellites by launching a projectile with the characteristics of a weapon.

‘Actions of this kind threaten the peaceful use of space and risk causing debris that could pose a threat to satellites and the space systems on which the world depends.

‘We call on Russia to avoid any further such testing.

‘We also urge Russia to continue to work constructively with the UK and other partners to encourage responsible behaviour in space.’   

The press release from US space command today, added: ‘Last week’s test is another example that the threats to U.S. and Allied space systems are real, serious and increasing. 

‘Russia’s development and testing of orbital weapons highlights the importance of establishing the U.S. Space Force as a new branch of the armed forces and the U.S. Space Command as the nation’s unified combatant command for space. 

‘It is a shared interest and responsibility of all spacefaring nations to create the conditions for a safe, stable, and operationally sustainable space environment.’

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