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Space weaponization: US accuses Russia of launching space weapon in American satellite’s orbit

Russia has launched a “counter-space weapon” into Earth’s orbit, potentially capable of targeting an American government satellite, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday. This development follows recent mutual accusations from Washington and Moscow about efforts to weaponize space.

The satellite, launched by Russia on May 16, is believed to be a “counter-space weapon likely capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” according to U.S. Department of Defense spokesman Pat Ryder. He stated that Russia has positioned this satellite in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite.

Ryder’s statement came after Robert Wood, the U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Affairs at the UN, made similar allegations against Moscow. These accusations surfaced ahead of a failed vote on a Russian-proposed resolution to ban weapons in outer space. The U.S. vetoed the resolution following Russia’s veto of a U.S.-drafted resolution the previous month.

The U.S. Space Command spokesperson indicated that the COSMOS 2576 satellite, capable of inspecting and attacking other objects in orbit, was launched covertly from northern Arkhangelsk last week. This satellite appears to be following the USA 314 satellite from the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office but has not approached it as of Tuesday.

U.S. intelligence reportedly alerted allies about the Russian satellite’s deployment before its launch, which also included civilian satellites sent to different orbits. U.S. officials have long criticized such Russian military “inspector” spacecraft for their hazardous behavior in space.

In response, Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of attempting to deploy weapons in outer space. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Russian intelligence agencies are monitoring the situation but did not provide additional details.

In February, the White House claimed that Russia was developing a space-based anti-satellite weapon, a charge Moscow dismissed as “malicious” and “unfounded.”

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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