Russia launched counter-satellite house weapon, U.S. says as Kremlin begins nuclear drills close to Ukraine

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Russia accused america of disinformation Wednesday after the Pentagon mentioned Moscow had launched what it assesses to be a counterspace weapon into the identical orbit as a U.S. authorities satellite tv for pc.

The newest conflict between the Kremlin and Washington got here as Moscow kicked off workout routines to simulate using tactical nuclear weapons, in a possible sign to the West towards deeper involvement in Ukraine.

In a briefing Tuesday, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder mentioned the U.S. has assessed that Moscow deployed the satellite tv for pc on Could 16. “Russia launched a satellite tv for pc into low Earth orbit that we assess is probably going a counterspace weapon, presumably able to attacking different satellites in low Earth orbit,” Ryder mentioned.

It was launched into the identical orbit as a U.S. authorities satellite tv for pc, Ryder mentioned, with out elaborating on whether or not the American satellite tv for pc was in any quick hazard.

The U.S. can be monitoring the scenario, he added, however is able to defend the “house area.”

Russia’s state house company, Roscosmos, mentioned in an announcement within the early morning hours of Could 17 native time {that a} Soyuz launch automobile with “spacecraft on board” took off from its Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia “within the pursuits of the Ministry of Protection of the Russian Federation.” It was unclear whether or not the launch was associated to the “counterspace weapon” that the U.S. assessed Russia put into house.

The newest house feud comes three months after Washington raised fears that Russia was growing a space-based nuclear weapon doubtlessly designed to focus on U.S. satellites. Moscow strongly denied it, with President Vladimir Putin saying he was categorically towards the deployment of nuclear weapons in house.

The brand new U.S. evaluation was as soon as once more dismissed by Russia on Wednesday.

“I don’t assume we should always reply to any data hoax from Washington,” Deputy Overseas Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by state information company Tass, including that Russia has persistently opposed the deployment of weapons in low Earth orbit.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed a each day information briefing that Russia has been appearing in accordance with worldwide regulation and has repeatedly referred to as for a ban on any weapons in house, however these initiatives have been turned down, together with by the U.S.

Washington and Moscow have clashed over the house weapons challenge on the United Nations in current weeks.

A Russian-drafted Safety Council decision that referred to as on all international locations to stop “all the time” the position, menace or use of any weapons in outer house failed on Monday. Overseas ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova referred to as the end result of the vote “disappointing,” saying that the U.S. and its companions had as soon as once more demonstrated their “true priorities” within the house discipline, together with remodeling it into an “area of army confrontation.”

However Russia vetoed a U.S.-drafted decision final month that referred to as on international locations to stop an arms race in outer house.

The newest alternate of rhetoric comes amid rising tensions between Russia and the U.S. over Washington’s continued help for the Kyiv combat within the two-year warfare. Putin has engaged in nuclear brinkmanship on many events all through the warfare, threatening to unleash Russia’s highly effective nuclear arsenal if its existence is threatened.

On Tuesday, his protection ministry mentioned it had begun the primary part of the drills on the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons in its Southern army district, which borders Ukraine.

The workout routines have been ordered by Putin earlier this month. The protection ministry reiterated Tuesday that the drills have been in response to “provocative statements and threats of sure Western officers concerning the Russian Federation,” in a possible reference to a rising dialogue round the potential of sending NATO troops to Ukraine.

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