Do Not Launch Nuke-Armed Satellite Killer, U.S. Warns Russia

The U.S. has made direct warnings to Russia against deploying a nuclear-capable anti-satellite weapon, reports say, over fears that it could pose a national security threat to America.

The cautions came after Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, last week issued an alarming, cryptic statement about “a serious” threat that the U.S. may need to discuss with its allies. White House national security communications adviser John Kirby later said Turner was talking about a space-based anti-satellite capability being developed by Russia.

Kirby added that the weapon had not yet been deployed and posed no threat to the American public. But the overall threat is being taken seriously enough to warrant multiple warnings being made to Moscow. CIA Director William Burns last week contacted Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, according to CBS News.

The Wall Street Journal separately reported on the spy chiefs’ engagement and said another channel of communication involved Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, and Yuri Ushakov, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy advisers.

Both outlets also reported that the Biden administration is also approaching countries including India, China, and G7 allies in an attempt to get them to also deter Russia from deploying the weapon.

If Moscow did launch a nuclear-armed anti-satellite system, it would be a violation of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits weapons of mass destruction being deployed in space. More than 130 countries—including Russia and the U.S.—are signatories.

A Kremlin spokesperson last week denied that Russia was planning to put nukes into orbit, accusing the White House of creating hysteria about a new Russian threat in order to pressure Congress into passing new aid to Ukraine.

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