Russia vetoes UN resolution to ban nuclear weapons in space amid reports of new Russian satellite weapon

April 25, 2024 by No Comments

A United States-led resolution that would have banned nuclear weapons in space received backing from dozens of member states, but Russia vetoed the measure amid reports it has deployed a weapon that can destroy satellites. “The detonation of a nuclear weapon in space would destroy satellites that are vital to communications, agriculture, national security, and more worldwide, with grave implications for sustainable development, and other aspects of international peace and security,” the U.S. Mission to the United Nations wrote in a press release prior to the vote. “The diverse group of cosponsors of this resolution reflects the strong shared interest in avoiding such an outcome,” the statement read. “We join these Member States in calling on the Security Council to meet this moment today and adopt the resolution unanimously, consistent with its mandate to maintain international peace and security.”The U.S. and Japan presented the resolution to the U.N. Security Council for a vote on Wednesday, but Russia shot the measure down. Prior to the vote, Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky reported that his country’s initial impression was that the resolution served as “yet another propaganda stunt by Washington” and called it a “very politicized” effort “divorced from reality,” . The draft resolution, which received backing from 60 member states, states that “the prevention of an arms race in outer space would avert a grave danger for international peace and security.” It affirms that countries that ratified the must comply with their obligations.The tug-of-war over hypothetical space-based weapons follows claims from the White House in February that Russia had deployed a “troubling” anti-satellite weapon – though no one has yet confirmed the weapon is operational or even in a testing phase. The weapon would allegedly be capable of destroying satellites by creating a massive energy wave when detonated, . The weapon could therefore potentially cripple countless other satellites that serve both commercial and government purposes, including cellphone use and internet access.Russia at the time argued that it would uphold the international 1967 treaty, which bans the deployment of “nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction” into orbit or the stationing of “weapons in outer space in any other manner.” “Our position is quite clear and transparent: we have always been and remain categorically opposed to the deployment of nuclear weapons in space,” said in February. “Just the opposite, we are urging everyone to adhere to all the agreements that exist in this sphere.”However, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu cryptically added at another time that Russia has only developed space capabilities that “other nations, including the U.S., have.” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres later warned that “geopolitical tensions and mistrust have escalated the risk of nuclear warfare to its highest point in decades.”Putin, throughout the conflict with Ukraine, has He said that “from a military-technical point of view, we are, of course, ready,” when asked in March about a potential nuclear war. Putin has used the threat of nuclear weapons in Ukraine as a means of preventing more direct intervention from the U.S. and other NATO allies, repeatedly stressing that any deployment of troops or similar more direct moves against Russia would be viewed as intervening in the war.