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Russia ready to discuss space activities as part of dialogue with US — ministry

The newly released US defense space strategy reveals Washington’s aggressive policy in this sphere

MOSCOW, June 19. /TASS/. Russia ready to discuss problems of activities in outer space within the Russian-US dialogue the agreement on which was reached in January, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday following the release of the United States’ defense space strategy.

"We see a possibility to remove mutual concerns within a comprehensive meaningful Russian-US dialogue on a wide spectrum of issues of security of space activities. An agreement to organize such dialogue was reach back on January 16," the ministry said. "We reiterate our readiness to discuss all the problems of space activities between representatives from the both sides’ agencies and organizations concerned."

According to the ministry, the newly released US defense space strategy reveals Washington’s aggressive policy in this sphere. "The document reveals Washington’s aggressive course in the space sector. It clearly sets the ultimate goal of securing the United States’ military dominance in outer space. So, Pentagon’s activities will be focused on military uses of space potential," the ministry said.

The Russian foreign ministry drew attention to the fact that the US side considers outer space as an arena for combat operation. "It says that the use of outer space by the United States, its allies and partners is to be backed by military force. Not only for the purposes of defense and deterrence but also to strike at an enemy in hostile uses of outer space," it noted.

"Serious attention is focused on the United States’ cooperation with its allies and partners in outer space. However, Washington assigns only an auxiliary role to them in the implementation of its military space pans. Allies and partners are expected only to provide financial, technical and personnel assistance," the ministry noted.

According to the ministry, Washington doesn’t bother to provide any evidence to back its allegations about strategic threats in outer space from Russia and China. "To justify this destructive course that instigates arms race in outer space and destabilizes the situation in the area of international security, Washington uses its routine tactic of accusing others. American colleagues speak about Russia’s and China’s alleged strategic threats in outer space and never bother to give any proof. Instead, they opt for a thesis about the changed strategic situation and another confrontation of great powers, where outer space is a central arena," the ministry said, adding that Washington doesn’t shun spinning facts alleging that Moscow and Beijing are deploying weapons in outer space. "They are citing provisions of the 2014 Russian military doctrine, without any concrete details, as a factor of turning outer space into an area for combat operations," the ministry said. "Naturally, there is nothing of the kind in Russia’s military doctrine."

"The Russian armed forces have purely defense tasks in outer space: to timely warn about aerospace attacks, to be prepared to repel strikes of aerospace weapons, to deploy and maintain orbital groupings of spacecraft to back the activities of the Russian armed forces, and to improve aerospace defense systems," the ministry stressed.

In order to legitimize its destructive course, Washington suggests focus be made on the development of standards and norms of safe and responsible conduct in outer space. "Naturally, the Americans don’t want any talks on a legally binding international instrument to prevent an arms race in outer space, which Russia, China and most of other members of world community insist on," the ministry said.

The Russian foreign ministry stressed that the Russia side is keeping a close eye on Washington’s aggressive plans and analyzes possible consequences. "Russia has an opposite position and gives priority to the use and exploration of outer space solely in peaceful purposes, to prevent arms race in outer space. The key initiative is the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on preventing weapons deployment in outer space, the use of force or threat of force against space facilities. The updated edition of the treaty was submitted to the Disarmament Conference several years ago," it noted.

"All the existing and any extra concerns of states about weapons in space may and must be removed at the negotiating table. We will continue efforts in this direction geared towards concrete results," the ministry added.

The ministry warned that "armed confrontation in outer space may have pernicious impacts on international security and strategic stability."

"We call on the United States to take a responsible position. We recall that Washington’s all previous attempts to secure dominance in the military sphere inevitably entailed escalation of tension and prompted new spirals of the arms race," it stressed.