Putin says Russia has no intention of putting nuclear weapons in space

Last week, the White House claimed that Moscow had obtained ‘troubling’ anti-satellite weapon capability.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu durning their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu denied the allegations made by the US [Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared that Moscow has no intention of deploying nuclear weapons in space, claiming that the country has only developed space capabilities similar to those of the US.

Putin’s statement on Tuesday follows the White House claim last week that Russia has obtained a “troubling” anti-satellite weapon capability, although such a weapon is not operational yet.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said it would violate the international Outer Space Treaty, but declined to comment on whether the weapon was nuclear-capable.

The treaty, signed by more than 130 countries – including Russia, prohibits the deployment of “nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction” in orbit or the stationing of “weapons in outer space in any other manner”.

The White House said it would look to engage the Russians directly about the concerns.

“Our position is quite clear and transparent: we have always been and remain categorically opposed to the deployment of nuclear weapons in space,” Putin said. “Just the opposite, we are urging everyone to adhere to all the agreements that exist in this sphere.”

He called the accusations part of a “clamour being raised in the West”.

Putin said Russia has “many times suggested to strengthen joint cooperation in the [space] sphere but for some reason, in the West, this topic has not come up again”.

Speaking during a meeting with his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, Putin noted that Russia has only developed space capabilities that “other nations, including the US, have”.

“And they know it,” he said.

“We haven’t deployed any nuclear weapons in space or any elements of them to use against satellites or to create fields where satellites can’t work efficiently,” Shoigu said.

Shoigu alleged that the White House could have made the allegations of a new Russian space capability to force Congress to support aid for Ukraine and also encourage Moscow to re-enter nuclear arms control talks that Russia has suspended amid the tensions with the US over Ukraine.

Putin did not rule out possible future contacts with the US, but reaffirmed his view that Washington’s push for Russia’s defeat in Ukraine makes such a scenario impossible for now.

“The US and the West, for one thing, are calling for Russia’s strategic defeat, while, on the other hand, they would like to have a dialogue on strategic stability, pretending that those things aren’t connected,” he said. “It won’t work.”

Source: News Agencies