Russia confirms it conducted anti-satellite missile test

Test did not pose threat to International Space Station, says Moscow, adding that US, China, India already held such tests.

MOSCOW (AA) – Russia on Tuesday confirmed that it had held an anti-satellite missile test in space.

Responding to a US accusation that Moscow was creating risks for the International Space Station, the Defense Ministry said the US State Department and Pentagon were hypocritical in their calls to work out “universal norms that the global society would use in the exploration of outer space.”

“For many of years, the Russian Federation has been calling on the United States and other space powers to sign a treaty on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space. The draft of this treaty has been submitted to the UN. The United States and its allies are blocking the adoption,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry accused Washington of maintaining its efforts for space militarization even as it openly declares that it does not want to commit itself to any obligations in space, noting the creation of the US Space Command last year and its official adoption of a new space strategy defining one of its main goals as creating “a comprehensive military advantage in space.”

Even before declaring the establishment of the Space Command, the Pentagon had been actively developing and testing the latest strike-combat weapons of various types in orbit, including the latest modifications of unmanned X-37 spacecraft, without any notification, the ministry said.

“The actions of the American side are assessed as a threat and are incompatible with the stated goals of the peaceful use of outer space,” it stressed.

Under these circumstances, the Russian Defense Ministry is carrying out planned activities to strengthen its defense capabilities, eliminating the possibility of sudden damage to the country’s security in space and on the planet, the ministry noted.

“In particular, on November 15 of this year, the Russian Defense Ministry successfully conducted a test, as a result of which the inactive Russian spacecraft ‘Tselina-D’, which had been in orbit since 1982, was hit,” it said.

The ministry insisted that the US is “well aware” that the fragments formed during the tests did not and will not pose a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities.

“The fragments are included in the main catalog of the Russian space control system and are immediately taken for maintenance until their existence ceases,” the ministry said.

It also claimed that similar tests in outer space had already been conducted by the US, China, and India.

On Monday, the US State Department accused Russia of conducting “a destructive test of a direct-ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites.”

The test generated “fifteen hundred pieces of trackable orbital debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris,” it said.

“The events of November 15, 2021, clearly demonstrate that Russia, despite its claims of opposing the weaponization of outer space, is willing to jeopardize the long-term sustainability of outer space and imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior,” it added.

The State Department promised to continue work with its allies and partners in order to find a response “to this irresponsible act.”

“We call upon all responsible spacefaring nations to join us in efforts to develop norms of responsible behavior and to refrain from conducting dangerous and irresponsible destructive tests like those carried out by Russia,” it said.


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