The dispute between commercial and military space exploration has intensified between Russia and the United States, especially in recent months.
Moscow is against the weaponization of space, as well as it maintains the idea that space is a global commons and all countries need to have access to its resources.
The US is at an entirely different belief, as recently an executive order by US President Donald Trump said that strict regulations were needed in space, and who better to be allowed to enforce rules in space than Washington.
Furthermore, those who can pay need to be allowed to exploit space resources, and according to the US that is also corporations, and primarily US corporations.
Moscow condemned the decision.
In response, the US reported that Moscow had began militarizing space, after testing the Nudol system, despite actually warning in advance that it would be doing so.
Moscow was also allegedly trying to push “propaganda” initiatives in the United Nations, which in turn, would be a sort of diversion that would allow Russia to launch its weapons into space first.
At the same time, it became known that the parties for the first time agreed to substantively discuss space security issues, for which a new working group will be created.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear: space is one of the few areas where Moscow has established effective interaction with Washington.
Meanwhile, only this week the United States twice attracted criticism from Russia regarding Washington’s statements on space issues.
At first, US President Donald Trump signed the above-mentioned executive order on the right of American companies to commercialize the resources of the moon and other celestial bodies, announcing that the United States no longer considers space to be a global commons.
In Roscosmos, these steps were called “aggressive”, in the Kremlin – “unacceptable”, and in the Federation Council – “aggressive”.
And then Christopher Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation, delivered a keynote address on the military aspects of space exploration, putting forward a number of claims against Russia and China.
According to him, the “aggressive” actions of these countries threaten all states that depend on the objects of space infrastructure (primarily satellites), and lead to the fact that space is turning into an independent arena of armed confrontation.
Furthermore, Russia’s conduct is more dangerous than China’s conduct in space, according to Ford.
Accusing both countries of developing and deploying the latest anti-satellite ballistic missiles, the diplomat said: everyone got used to ground-based weapons of spacecraft, but Moscow moved on to the next step, placing weapons directly in space.
This relates to several satellites that Russia has been launching in space since 2017, and that appear to be satellite-inspectors that have even went near US satellites, and caused criticism by Washington.
The aim of these satellite experiments is to continue the work on assessing the technical condition of Russia’s domestic satellites. The test information is being transmitted to ground-based processing facilities to determine the technical condition of the probed satellite. But who would believe that, surely not the United States.
Then, Russia reportedly tested the Nudol “satellite killer” which is an entirely ground-based system, and is a direct response to Washington’s constant promises of developing weapons to space, the US establishing its Space Force and claims of hegemony over these global commons.
The most scrutinizing move, by Christopher Ford was the Russian-Chinese draft international Treaty on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Space and Moscow’s appeal to all states to refuse to deploy weapons first in this environment.
Christopher Ford called these initiatives “false and hypocritical,” because they “are aimed at solving the problems that its authors themselves created.”
“The draft Russian-Chinese treaty has been carefully designed so as not to affect in any way the ground-based anti-satellite systems that are being actively developed and deployed by Russia and China,” he said. “As for the call to Russia to abandon the deployment of weapons in outer space, this initiative meant that “it didn’t want to be second to deploy them.” This diplomatic overture is nothing more than propaganda.”
Moscow categorically disagreed with this assessment.
“Now the United States has gone and labelled “propaganda” any Russian proposals on a wide range of issues, including arms control and its future,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “It seems to me that the American representatives, Enthusiastic about trying to hang an umbrella over their allies and like-minded people besides the nuclear one, they go a little too far. This kind of statement makes meaningful discussion of problems and approaches to their solution, in favor of which Russia stands.”
According to the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, the problems arose due to the fact that the United States “has been shaking strategic stability in various aspects for a long time and is rapidly preparing to deploy strike assets in outer space, including for missile defense.”
At the same time, Washington refused to heed the ideas and proposals put forward by Moscow, including in tandem with Beijing, and only criticized them without putting forward anything in return.
However, he did say that a working group on the issue would be formed, so there may yet be some hope.
“As for responsible behavior in space, this term applies to a slightly different sphere: the UN Committee on Space deals with this. There, on the negotiating table, there is also a whole series of Russian ideas regarding the settlement of relevant problems on a collective basis without unilateral approaches and techniques that pose a significant part of the international community with a fact,” he explained. And he assured:
“We will continue the work there to bring to our American colleagues the logic according to which space is not a sphere where it is possible to impose our ideas and concepts on the entire international community. Unfortunately, the US in this area also has a one-sided, very pushing approach.”
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