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Russia threatened at the UN to destroy the commercial satellites of the United States and other Western countries

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with 53 Starlink satellites (Reuters/file)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with 53 Starlink satellites (Reuters/file)

A senior official in the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the United States commercial satellites and his allies could become legitimate targets for Russia if they were drawn into the war in Ukraine.

Russia, which launched Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite, into space in 1957 and sent the first man into outer space in 1961, has significant space offensive capabilities, as do the United States and China. In 2021, Russia launched an anti-satellite missile to destroy one of its own satellites.

Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, told the United Nations that the United States and its allies are trying to use space to impose Western rule.

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Reading from notes, Vorontsov said the use of Western satellites to aid the Ukrainian war effort is “an extremely dangerous trend.”

“Near-civilian infrastructure can be a legitimate target for a retaliation attackVorontsov told the United Nations First Committee, adding that the West’s use of such satellites to support Ukraine is “provocative.”

“We are talking about the participation of components of civil space infrastructure, including commercialby the United States and its allies in armed conflicts,” Vorontsov told the United Nations.

String of Starlink satellites before being put into orbit (SpaceX)
String of Starlink satellites before being put into orbit (SpaceX)

Vorontsov did not mention any specific satellite companies, although Elon Musk said earlier this month that his SpaceX rocket company will continue to fund his internet service. star link in Ukraine, citing the need for “good deeds.”

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The war in Ukraine has left tens of thousands dead, undermined the post-COVID-19 global economic recovery and triggered the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

FILE PHOTO: Starlink logo is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Ukrainian flag in this illustration taken February 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Starlink logo is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Ukrainian flag in this illustration taken February 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Musk has been providing Starlink satellite service terminals to try to alleviate internet service outages caused by Russian bombing.

On Monday, the Ukrainian government assured that the initial agreement reached with tycoon Elon Musk on internet connection services through satellites provides that they will continue to function regardless of their financing.

“Before all the talks about financing, you confirmed to me that in any circumstances you would guarantee the operation of Starlinks in Ukraine,” Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mikhailo Fedorov wrote on Twitter. “This was of critical importance for Ukraine. We are grateful to you,” he added, in response to a message from Musk in which the SpaceX founder stated that he would not discontinue service even if the US government refused to cover the bill.

On October 14, the Pentagon confirmed that it is in contact with SpaceX regarding the question of financing said service, which according to the company would cost more than 120 million dollars until the end of the year. The US Department of Defense then stated that it understands the “fragility” of Ukraine’s communications system and that it is evaluating “options” to ensure that it continues to function.

According to the American network CNNSpaceX asked the Pentagon to assume the financing of the shipment of terminals to Ukraine or, otherwise, the free donations that had been made until now could end soon.

(With information from Reuters and EFE)

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