(TNS) Space Force: Russia may be preparing to deploy a “combat laser system” in near space capable of knocking U.S. satellites offline, taking away key military surveillance and targeting capabilities as well as disrupting civilian communications.
State Department Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Dr. Yleem Poblete warned the UN on Tuesday that Moscow had begun initial steps to militarize space with offensive weapons.
“The United States is concerned with what appears as very abnormal behavior by this so-called ‘space apparatus inspector,'” Poblete said. “We do not know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify its mission. Moreover, Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear.”
It’s a “troubling development—particularly when considered in concert with statements by Russia’s Space Troops Commander which highlighted that ‘assimilat[ing] new prototypes of weapons [into] Space Forces’ military units’ is a ‘main task facing the Aerospace Forces Space Troops,'” she added.
Any effort to militarize space would amount to a violation of UN ban on such activity.
“It is also concerning in light of statements from senior Russian military officials that Russia’s Space Troops have taken delivery of a ‘combat laser system,'” according to Poblete.
“Further, Russia claims to be developing missiles that can be launched from an aircraft mid-flight to destroy American satellites. To the United States, these developments are yet further proof that Russian military actions do not match their diplomatic rhetoric.”
She also noted that the Trump administration would not stand idly by while Russia developed these capabilities.
“While the United States would prefer that the space domain remain free of conflict, it will prepare to meet and overcome any challenges that arise,” Poblete said. “As Vice President Pence recently noted, ‘Our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already. And the United States will not shrink from this challenge.'”
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