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Russia says satellite tests created no threats in outer space

Russia’s Foreign Ministry thus commented on statements by US and UK officials over the Russian satellite’s tests

MOSCOW, June 24. /TASS/. The tests of a satellite held by Russia’s Defense Ministry in mid-July created no threats for other space vehicles and violated no principles of international law, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Friday.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry thus commented on statements by US and UK officials over the Russian satellite’s tests.

"The tests held by the Defense Ministry of Russia on July 15 this year created no threats for other space vehicles and, most importantly, violated no norms or principles of international law," the statement says.

"According to the information of our Defense Ministry, the Russian inspector-satellite inspected a Russian space vehicle at a close distance using the small satellite’s specialized equipment. As a result, valuable information on the technical condition of the inspected object was obtained and transmitted to ground-based control systems," according to the statement.

The Foreign Ministry thus commented on the statements by US and UK officials "on the tests of a satellite allegedly with the characteristics of a weapon held by Russia on July 15." Specifically, such statements were made by US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea, US Space Force Commander John Raymond, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford and Head of the UK’s Space Directorate Harvey Smith.

US and UK representatives are trying to discredit with their statements Russia’s initiatives on preventing an arms race in outer space, the ministry said.

"We consider this as another anti-Russian move, as part of a Washington-initiated purposeful information campaign for discrediting the Russian space activity and our peaceful initiatives for preventing an arms race in outer space," the Foreign Ministry stressed.

"American and British representatives are again trying to present the situation in a distorted form to distract the attention of the international public from real threats in outer space, justify the steps they are taking to deploy weapons in outer space and secure additional financing for these purposes," the ministry pointed out.

"Naturally, they keep silent about their own efforts in the field of military space, including the implementation of the programs of possibly involving inspector satellites and repair satellites as anti-satellite means," the statement says.

As Russia’s Foreign Ministry pointed out, the time chosen for these comments - ahead of a Russian-US meeting of experts on space security on July 27 in Vienna - raises big questions.

"It is not clear what goal the US colleagues are pursuing. We would want to hope that they are not trying in this way to pre-determine the tonality and the results of the meeting and complicate the process of developing a bilateral dialogue on space issues and strategic stability as a whole, which is so important for the entire international community," the ministry added.

Russia’s adherence to its commitments

Russia continues to adhere to its commitments for the non-discriminatory use and exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes, the ministry stressed.

"In this regard, the initiatives we are promoting for preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space, which, incidentally, are supported by a majority of UN member states, are acquiring a decisive role," Russia’s Foreign Ministry added.

This refers to the initiatives on working out a multilateral and legally binding treaty on preventing an arms race in outer space based on the Russian-Chinese draft agreement on the prevention of weapons deployment in space, the use of force or the threat of force in relation to space objects, and also on globalizing the political commitment not to be the first to place weapons in outer space, the ministry explained.

Professionalism instead of disinformation campaigns

Russia is ready to discuss space issues with the United States and Great Britain, the ministry stressed.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also urged American and British colleagues "to display professionalism and sit down to a negotiating table and get down to specific and substantive work instead of some propagandistic disinformation campaigns."

"We confirm our readiness for discussing the entire range of space activity problems with the participation of representatives of interested agencies and organizations," the ministry stressed.