Moscow: US Seeks to Use Space as Theatre of War, Refuses Discussion with Russia

TEHRAN (FNA)- The head of the Russian General of Staff, Andrei Sterlin, stated that the United States is looking to use space as a theatre of war, condemning Washington for its refusal to engage in talks on the non-deployment of weapons with Russia and China.

"The Pentagon considers space as a potential theatre of military operations and demands to maintain complete freedom of manoeuvre in this direction. In this regard, the United States refuses to hold talks on the basis of the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in space and the formation of an international legal framework limiting its ability to use space for military purposes”, Sterlin noted, according to RIA Novosti.

US President Donald Trump in February signed a directive to establish a new Air Force branch, the US Space Force, which will focus on global surveillance, missile targeting, and countering Chinese and Russian hypersonic weapons, among other priorities.

Russia condemned the move, calling on the United States to avoid an arms race in space. China echoed Moscow's stance, stressing that Washington is trying to justify its supremacy in space by undertaking this step.

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‘Space is not your property!’ Beijing blasts US report on China & Russia ‘weaponizing’ space

A new US intelligence report portraying Moscow and Beijing as trying to bring warfare into the heavens has drawn the ire of China, which insists that space is not Washington’s “private property.”

Read more Pentagon’s 1st AI strategy vows to keep pace with Russia & China, wants help from tech

“I want to make it clear that outer space belongs to all mankind. It is not exclusively owned by any one country and especially not the private property of the US,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, referring to the latest paper by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). 

Hua slammed the “unwarranted and utterly baseless comments” in the DIA report, saying China stands for the peaceful use of space and opposes its militarization.

“For many years,” the spokeswoman stated, “China, Russia and other countries have been working hard and trying to reach an international legal instrument to fundamentally prevent the weaponization of or an arms race in outer space.”

The DIA report – which comes amid Donald Trump’s cosmic endeavors such as the establishment of the Space Command – fans fears of US dominance being challenged everywhere, including space. Russia and China “view space as important to modern warfare and view counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce US and allied military effectiveness,” it claims, noting that both countries have done much to boost their capabilities.

“These capabilities provide their militaries… with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track, and target US and allied forces,” the DIA says.

READ MORE: Trump orders US agencies to turbocharge AI research and ensure American dominance

What it did not say, however, is that a host of senior US military leaders have openly discussed the prospect of offensive weapons being delivered into Earth’s orbit. Former Pentagon chief James Mattis, for instance, said in 2017 that the US needs to have offensive weapons in space “should someone decide to militarize it and go on the offensive.”

In fact, Moscow warned in early January that it’s Washington which is eying space as a potential battlefield. In particular, the Russian Foreign Ministry cited US plans to develop space-based interceptors.

The US, China, Russia, and dozens of other countries are parties to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that bars weapons of mass destruction from being placed in space and installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body.

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