Russia denies US charge that it launched a space weapon

The United States is claiming that Russia sent a counter space weapon into orbit last week that is now in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite, according to The BBC.

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Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed the report of the launch on Tuesday.

“What I’m tracking here is on May 16, as you highlighted, Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we that we assess is likely a counter space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” Ryder said when questioned about the launch.

“Russia deployed this new counter space weapon into the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite,” Ryder continued. “And so assessments further indicate characteristics resembling previously deployed counter space payloads from 2019 and 2022.”

Earlier on Tuesday Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed the US was seeking to turn space into an “arena for military confrontation,” the BBC reported.

A spokesperson for the US Space Command told Reuters that the satellite was “likely a counter space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit”.

Russia’s top arms control diplomat called the report “fake news” on Wednesday.

“I don’t think we should respond to any fake news from Washington,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Interfax news agency. Interfax is a Russian non-governmental news agency based in Moscow.

“The Americans can say whatever they want but our policy does not change from this,” said Ryabkov, adding that Moscow had “always consistently opposed the deployment of strike weapons in low-Earth orbit”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined specific comment on the U.S. assertion but said Russia acted in full accordance with international law.

“We are not violating anything. We have repeatedly advocated a ban on the deployment of any weapons into space. Unfortunately, our initiatives were rejected, including by the United States,” Peskov told reporters

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