Pentagon says Russia launched 'likely' space weapon in orbit of US satellite

Russia has launched a likely space weapon and deployed it in the same orbit as a US government satellite, the Pentagon said.

Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we assess is likely a counter-space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Air Force Major General Pat Ryder told a press briefing late Tuesday.

The Russian “counter-space weapon” launched on May 16 was deployed “into the same orbit as a US government satellite,” he said.

Ryder added that Washington would continue to monitor the situation and was ready to protect its interests.

“We have a responsibility to be ready to protect and defend the domain, the space domain, and ensure continuous and uninterrupted support to the Joint and Combined Force,” he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment when asked about reports that Moscow had launched a space weapon.

“I can’t comment on this in any way. We act absolutely in accordance with international law, do not violate anything, and have repeatedly advocated banning any weapons in space,” he told a regular press briefing in Moscow.

“Unfortunately, these initiatives of ours were rejected, including by the USA.”

The world powers have traded accusations over weaponizing space in recent months.

He said that Russia’s “likely” counter-space weapon was “presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit”.

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