Are there any nukes deployed in space? Vladimir Putin speaks up

Web Desk
February 21, 2024

According to a New York Times report last week, Russia has built nuclear capabilities for use in space

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the opening ceremony of the Year of Teacher and Mentor, via video link in Moscow, Russia March 2, 2023. — Reuters

Months after sending a military satellite into the Earth’s orbit amid the intensifying space race, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his associates in the Kremlin have cleared their position on the deployment of nuclear weapons in space.

According to a New York Times report last week, Russia has built nuclear capabilities for use in space.

The officials in the US called for the declassification of the information about a "serious national security threat", regarding a "destabilising foreign military capability".

The report also cited by other media outlets claimed "Russian efforts to develop a space-based anti-satellite nuclear weapon."

However, they also noted that the weapon would not be used to attack humans and was not yet active, "calling the matter serious but not an immediate threat."

A Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is test-launched by the Russian military at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk region, Russia, in this still image released on April 20, 2022. — Reuters

Responding to the US media claims, Vladimir Putin told his defence minister Sergei Shoigu Tuesday that Moscow did not deploy any nuclear-capable weapons in space nor there is any intention to do so.

"Our position is clear and transparent: we have always been categorically against and are now against the deployment of nuclear weapons in space," Putin told Shoigu, adding that "we urge not only compliance with all agreements that exist in this area, but also offered to strengthen this joint work many times."

The 71-year-old also stated that Russia's activities in space did not differ from those of other countries, including the United States.

Scaring for Ukraine aid

While responding to the media claims backed by the intelligence reports, Shoigu said that there were no plans of the kind outlined by the unidentified sources in the United States.

"Firstly, there are no such projects — nuclear weapons in space. Secondly, the United States knows that this does not exist," Shoigu expressed to President Putin.

He said the allegations are just to scare US lawmakers into providing more aid for Ukraine as part of Washington's plan to inflict what he said was "a strategic defeat on Russia".

He said the second reason for the leaked information about the alleged Russian weapon was to encourage Russia to engage in a dialogue about strategic stability.

The confrontation between the US and Russia started with Moscow’s special military operation that started in February 2022.

Putin said Russia had never been against discussions about strategic stability, but he also maintained that it was impossible to divide what was the West's aim to defeat Russia and talks about strategic security.

"If they seek to inflict a strategic defeat on us, then we must think about what strategic stability means for our country," Putin said.

"Therefore, we do not reject anything, we do not give up anything, but we need to figure out what they want. They usually want to achieve unilateral advantages. That's not going to happen."

Putin did not rule out talks at defence and foreign ministry level with the United States on strategic stability.

The deployment of nuclear weapons in space is prohibited under the Outer Space Treaty, signed by the US, Soviet Union, and the UK.


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