The United States, Britain, and Russia accused Russia of testing anti-satellite weapons in space last week.
The Deputy Marshal Harvey Smith, head of the British Space Directorate, in a statement Thursday evening, expressed his cuntry’s concern about “the way in which Russia tested one of its satellites by launching a missile that has the characteristics of a weapon”.
“Such actions threaten the peaceful use of space and threaten to cause debris, which could pose a threat to the satellites and space systems on which the world depends,” Smith said, calling on Russia to “avoid any other such testing”.
“We also urge Russia to continue to work constructively with the United Kingdom and other partners to encourage responsible behavior in space,” he added.
The US space command, in turn, said that on July 15, a Russian satellite “operated abnormally close to another American in low Earth orbit, before moving away to another Russian satellite”.
The statement added, that the satellite launched another object near the target satellite, noting that “this test is not in line with the intended purpose of the satellite as a surveillance system, as described by Russia”.
“The Russian satellite system used to conduct weapons testing in orbit is the same satellite system that we raised concerns about earlier this year, when Russia moved near a US government satellite,” said General John Raymond, commander of the US space command.
It is noteworthy that this is the first time that the United Kingdom has accused Russia of trying to launch weapons in space, and came after the publication of a British report saying that London underestimated the threat posed by Russia.
On the other hand, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that “during testing of the latest space technology, a local satellite was closely examined using specialized equipment for small spacecraft,” adding that “valuable information on the technical condition of the object in question”.
For its part, Russia considered Friday that the US and British accusations that it was testing a weapon that could be used to destroy satellites in space are merely “propaganda attacks”.
“We call on our US and British colleagues to commit to professionalism instead of launching propaganda attacks, so let’s sit at the dialogue table,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, and stressed that the test conforms to international standards.