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US general accuses Russia of covertly building anti-satellite laser weapons

January 27, 2017, 5:10 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

Russia and China have repeatedly declared their commitment to the peaceful use of outer space

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© AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON, January 27. /TASS/. A senior US military official has accused Russia of covertly running various programs to enhance its anti-satellite capabilities, including designing laser weapons to use in space, the Department of Defense press service said.

Speaking at the Stanford University in California, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, who heads the U.S. Strategic Command, accused Russia and China of building weapons in the low earth orbit and in the geosynchronous orbit, as well as systems to manage them from the ground.

"In the not-too-distant future, they (Russia and China) will be able to use that capability to threaten every spacecraft we have in space. We have to prevent that, and the best way to prevent war is to be prepared for war. So the United States is going to do that, and we're going to make sure that everybody knows we're prepared for war," he said.

Both Russia and China have repeatedly declared their commitment to the peaceful use of outer space and are members of the relevant United Nations Committee, COPUOS.

The official said that Russia, which has had an anti-satellite capability since the 1980s, is now exploring significant anti-satellite capabilities, including lasers for use in space and other "capabilities that would threaten our satellites, and many of which would create debris" that could hinder access to space.

"We have to deter bad behavior in space and we have to deter conflict in space," the head of the Strategic Command said.

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