Russia says PRIVATE satellites used by America and its allies could become a ‘legitimate target’ during wartime in latest space provocation

Russia says PRIVATE satellites used by America and its allies could become a ‘legitimate target’ during wartime in latest space provocation

Posted For: Willie Wonka


Russia said private satellites being used by the U.S. and its allies could become legitimate military targets amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The remarks – made this week by Konstantin Vorontsov, a member of the Russian Foreign Ministry and head of the country’s delegation to the United Nations – came during a working group meeting in Geneva about reducing threats and increasing cooperation in space.

Vorontsov stated the Russian delegation ‘would like to underline an extremely dangerous trend that goes beyond the harmless use of outer space technologies and has become apparent during the events in Ukraine.’

According to the UN’s English translation of the statement, Vorontsov said that the uses of commercial and civilian satellite assets by the United States and its allies throughout the ongoing invasion of Ukraine ‘constitute indirect involvement in military conflicts’ whether they realize it or not and that so-called ‘quasi-civilian infrastructure may become a legitimate target for retaliation.’

‘At the very least,’ the statement continues, ‘this provocative use of civilian satellites is questionable under the Outer Space Treaty, which provides for the exclusively peaceful use of outer space, and must be strongly condemned by the international community.’

Russia’s comments arrive at a time when it’s being pushed back by Ukraine’s army and tensions are rising between the U.S. and the Vladimir Putin-led regime.

American officials have said that Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system is giving Ukrainian forces the edge in winning the drone war as the country harnesses the technology to track down invading Russians – even in Ukraine’s infamously remote regions.

Beyond the Starlink network’s military applications, Ukrainians are also using it to bring high-speed connections to camps for displaced people in the country’s western villages where many have fled.

Members of Ukraine’s 93rd mechanized brigade are able to let loved ones know they are safe through daily encrypted satellite messages after the local cellphone network was severed during heavy shelling, according to Politico.

‘Thank you, Elon Musk,’ Oleksiy told Politico soon after logging on through Starlink’s satellites to discover the Biden administration would be sending long-range rockets to the Ukrainian army in its fight with the Russians.

Shortly after its February invasion, SpaceX sent multiple shipments of Starlink terminals to Ukraine to boost coverage and connectivity after Russia’s attacks on the country’s infrastructure.

There were soon 150,000 active daily users of Starlink in the country and a total of 15,000 terminals were in use.

The Starlink network ‘rapidly’ fought off a Russian jamming attack in April, the Pentagon disclosed, and noted that a U.S. military response to counter the attack would have taken much longer.

Dave Tremper, from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, praised SpaceX for its agility, particularly ‘in the way that Starlink was able to upgrade when a threat showed up.’

The Starlink terminals, which are tiny and connected to a dish-style antenna, require very little electricity to operate and can even be powered by a car’s cigarette lighter, making them quite easy to operate in the war-torn country.

The U.S. Air Force gave SpaceX a $1.9 million contract for Starlink services in Europe and Asia which noted that the system is ‘the only low-Earth orbit satellite network provider that is currently being used in a contested environment: Ukraine,’ Politico first reported.

The Russian delegation’s statement reportedly went on to warn the United Nations against the adoption of ‘fragmented, non-inclusive rules for regulating space activities, that do not take into account approaches of all UN Member States and seek to ensure space dominance of a small group of states.’

Russia then said U.S. member states should ‘focus on assuming national and international obligations to not place weapons of any kind in outer space (including in orbit around the Earth and on celestial bodies) and prohibit the threat or use of force against or with space objects, as well as introduce a complete and comprehensive ban on strike weapons in outer space for use against space objects.’

Even so, the communist country has appeared eager to cut ties with the U.S. and its allies in other space-related matters – as it unveiled last month a model of what its own planned space station would look like once it abandons the International Space Station.

Roscosmos showed off a model of the planned space station – which will have four modules during its first phase and eventually expand to six with a service platform – at a military-industrial exhibition outside Moscow.

Yuris Borisov, head of the Russian space agency, said Russia will quit the ISS after 2024 and that it is working on its own space station.

Russian state media have suggested the first stage could be launched in 2025-25 and no later than 2030, with the final stage planned for 2030-35.

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