Satellites used against Russia may become legitimate targets: Ministry
The Russian Foreign Ministry says Western countries are actively using the potential of civilian space infrastructure to support Kiev's operations against Russia.
Quasi-civilian satellites used by Western countries to support the Ukrainian military throughout the conflict may become legitimate targets for Russia, Vladimir Ermakov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's non-proliferation and arms control department, has told Sputnik.
"Western countries are actively using the potential of civilian space infrastructure, first of all, a group of low-orbiting satellites, to support operations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. These are used to exclusively perform combat tasks to reveal locations, routes of movement and actions of Russian troops, to control combat aerial vehicles, as well as to target high-precision munitions from space," Ermakov explained.
He added that such a provocative use of "civilian satellites at the very least raises questions in the context of the Outer Space Treaty" and "requires the most serious condemnation by the world community."
"We confirm that such quasi-civilian infrastructure, should it be used in military action against Russia, may quite logically become a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike," Ermakov warned.
Given the global coverage of the Earth by civilian spacecraft, "the Pentagon is testing the concept of a prospective command and control system for troops anywhere in the world, and the vast majority of countries have no effective means of countering it," the Director indicated.
"We advocate the prevention of the use of civilian commercial satellites to achieve combat tasks. We urge all countries interested in the proper use of space technologies to make joint efforts in the interests of the exploration of near-Earth space for purely peaceful purposes," the Russian diplomat affirmed.
Ermakov pointed out that "the development of legally binding norms of international law that would be comprehensive in nature and aimed at the prevention of an arms race in outer space" is the only way to ensure that outer space is used only for peaceful purposes.
In late October, John Kirby, National Security Council Spokesperson, told reporters that the US will be responding in an "appropriate" way to any Russian attack against US commercial satellites.