Source : Financial Times

We have taken note of statement made by US and British officials, including US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea, head of US Space Command Jay Raymond, US Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation Christopher Ford and Director of the Space Directorate at the UK Ministry of Defence Harvey Smyth), in connection with the testing of a Russian satellite, which allegedly has “the characteristics of a weapon,” on July 15, 2020.

We regard this as part of Washington’s anti-Russia information campaign to discredit Russia’s activities in the space area and our peace initiatives for preventing an arms race in outer space. The US and British representatives have again tried to distort facts so as to distract public attention from the existing threats in outer space, to justify their actions to deploy weapons in outer space and to get additional funding for these purposes. Not surprisingly, they keep silent about their own military activities in outer space, including the use of the so-called inspector and maintenance satellites as anti-satellite weapons.

It is also noteworthy that these statements have been made ahead of the Russian-US meeting of space security experts, scheduled to take place in Vienna on July 27. The goal of these statements is not clear to us. We would like to hope that they were not intended to influence the modality and outcome of this meeting, as well as to hinder the development of a bilateral dialogue on space issues and strategic stability, which is so important for the international community.

The testing conducted by the Russian Defence Ministry on July 15 has not endangered any other space object and, most importantly, has not infringed on any norms and principles of international law. According to our Defence Ministry, the inspector satellite was launched to inspect a Russian satellite at close range, using special equipment for this purpose. This mission has collected valuable information about the technical maintenance status of the inspected spacecraft and transmitted it to the ground-based command system.

We reaffirm Russia’s commitment to its obligations regarding the peaceful exploration and use of outer space by all states without discrimination. Of crucial importance in this connection are our initiatives, which incidentally the overwhelming majority of UN member states support, aimed at preventing the militarisation of outer space. The idea is to draft a multilateral binding agreement that will prevent an arms race in outer space based on a Russian-Chinese draft agreement on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space, and the use or threat of force against space objects, as well as the globalisation of the political commitment on the no first placement of weapons in outer space.

We call on our American and British colleagues to act professionally instead of planting false information, to start negotiations and join meaningful and practical collective efforts. We reaffirm our readiness to discuss all issues related to activities in outer space with representatives from the concerned agencies and establishments.