Foreign Ministry statement on the US House of Representatives’ passing of the 2019 defence budget bill (source):
We have taken note of the National Defence Authorisation Act for Fiscal Year 2019 passed by the US House of Representatives. This document, in particular, provides for allocating funds to build a space-based echelon for intercepting ballistic missiles (including the development and deployment of a new early warning satellite group by the end of 2022). The completion of the interception system is planned for 2030, but testing of prototypes is to begin as soon as in 2022, once the new sensors are put into service. The bill instructs the US Missile Defence Agency to start implementing these programmes regardless of the recommendations of the still ongoing revision of the missile defence policy.
It seems, given US President Donald Trump’s instruction to create the Space Force as an independent service branch separate from the United States Air Force, the preparations for creating the ABM space group is another step towards implementing the policy of America’s dominance of outer space. These efforts are a direct confirmation that Washington does not intend to abandon the plans to use force in outer space proposed by the previous administration.
Such actions by US lawmakers do not contribute to a constructive dialogue on strategic stability, or to a favourable atmosphere within the framework of the review process of the destabilising effect on strategic stability and international security.
Given that the US Congress is talking about the development and creation of space-based anti-ballistic missile defence weapons, we would like to mention that there is a direct correlation between strategic offensive and defensive weapons, as stated in the 2010 START Treaty. Washington’s prior attempts to secure its military supremacy have invariably ended in heightened international tension and new rounds of the arms race.
We are certainly closely following the US moves and are carefully analysing the possible consequences. We urge the American side to show good judgment and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Armed confrontation in outer space can have no less detrimental impact than the nuclear arms race unleashed by Washington back in the middle of the last century, with the whole world still failing to cope with its consequences.
Russia stands resolutely against such reckless undertakings. We give priority to the use and exploration of outer space for exclusively peaceful purposes. Our approaches are also reaffirmed in the July 26 Declaration of the 10th BRICS Summit, which emphasises the paramount importance of strict compliance with, and the need to consolidate and strengthen the current regulatory regime that provides for the peaceful use of outer space. The Declaration also expresses the collective concern of the BRICS members over the possible arms race in space and its transformation into an arena for military confrontation.
In recent years, we have come up with a number of initiatives aimed at preventing an arms race in outer space, the key one being the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects, an updated version of which was submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in June 2014. We are supported by sensible forces in all countries and intend to continue active result-oriented work towards this end.
We would like to hope that common sense will prevail in the United States. We count on Washington to finally abandon the plans that would have the most negative impact on the state of international security, and to support in deeds, rather than in words the efforts by responsible countries aimed at real strengthening of international security and strategic stability.