Russia Denies Charge That It Put Anti-Satellite Weapon In Space

Russia’s top arms control diplomat dismissed as “fake news” an assertion by the United States that Russia had launched a weapon into low-Earth orbit that was capable of inspecting and attacking other satellites. The Kremlin has flatly denied assertions by U.S. officials that Moscow is developing a space-based anti-satellite nuclear weapon.

U.S. Space Command on Tuesday pointed to the launch earlier this month of a Soyuz rocket from Russia’s Plesetsk launch site, saying it likely involved “a counterspace weapon, presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit.” Russia’s defense ministry said the May 17 launch had a spacecraft on board but gave no details what it was for.

“I don’t think we should respond to any fake news from Washington,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “The Americans can say whatever they want, but our policy does not change from this,” said Ryabkov, adding that Moscow had “always consistently opposed the deployment of strike weapons in low-Earth orbit.”

President Vladimir Putin and then-defense minister Sergei Shoigu denied U.S. assertions in February that Russia was developing a space-based, anti-satellite nuclear weapon designed to disrupt everything from military communications to phone-based ride services.

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