By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Russia has threatened to launch attacks on commercial satellites from the United States and its allies if they fail to stay off the ongoing war in Ukraine sparked off by Vladimir Putin-led army invasion in February.
A top official of Russian foreign ministry and the deputy director of department for non-proliferation and arms control, Konstantin Vorontsov, told the United Nations that the United States and its allies were trying to use space to enforce Western dominance.
Vorontsov, reading from notes, said the use of Western satellites to aid the Ukrainian war effort was “an extremely dangerous trend”.
“Quasi-civilian infrastructure may be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” Vorontsov told the United Nations First Committee, adding that the West’s use of such satellites to support Ukraine was “provocative”.
“We are talking about the involvement of components of civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, by the United States and its allies in armed conflicts,” Vorontsov was quoted as saying at the United Nations.
Vorontsov did not mention any specific satellite companies though Elon Musk said earlier this month that his rocket company SpaceX would continue to fund its Starlink internet service in Ukraine, citing the need for “good deeds.”
The war in Ukraine has killed tens of thousands in what is seen as gravest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Russia, which in 1957 launched Sputnik 1, the first manmade satellite, into space and in 1961 put the first man in outer space, has a significant offensive space capability, same way with the United States and China.
In 2021, Russia launched an anti-satellite missile to destroy one of its own satellites.