The Pentagon accuses Moscow of launching a space weapon and deploying it in the same orbit as a US government satellite. “Russia has launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we believe is a space weapon capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” Pentagon spokesman General Patrick S. Ryder said during the a press conference, Tuesday May 21 at the end of the day.

The Russian space weapon launched on May 16 was deployed “in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite,” he said. Washington will continue to monitor the situation. “We have a responsibility to be prepared to protect and defend the space domain,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Moscow accused the United States of seeking to place weapons in space, after Washington vetoed a Russian motion on non-proliferation at the United Nations.

“They have once again demonstrated that their real priorities in the field of outer space are not aimed at keeping space free of weaponry, but at placing weapons in space and making it an arena of military confrontation “, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

Mutual accusations of wanting to weaponize space

In recent months, the two superpowers have accused each other of wanting to weaponize space. In this context, Washington and Moscow have proposed rival non-proliferation motions to the United Nations. Russia vetoed the US initiative last month, while Moscow’s proposal was blocked by the United States, Britain and France in a vote on Monday.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Robert A. Wood said Russia’s proposal, which called on all countries to “take urgent action to forever prevent the placement of weapons in outer space.” atmospheric”, aimed to create a diversion and accused Moscow of “diplomatic manipulation”. According to him, the Russian launch on May 16 follows other “launches of Russian satellites likely to be equipped with anti-satellite systems in low orbit, in 2019 and 2022.”

In February, the White House assured that Russia was developing an anti-satellite weapon.

These tensions between Moscow and Washington, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, resurrect the risk – dating from the Cold War – of a militarization of space despite the existence, since 1967, of a treaty calling “not to develop nuclear weapons, or any other weapons of mass destruction, designed specifically to be placed in orbit.”