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Russia: Commercial Satellites Could Be Targeted In Retaliatory Strikes

A senior official from Russia's Foreign Ministry has warned that Western commercial satellites could become "legitimate" targets for Moscow if they were involved in the war in Ukraine.

Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for non-proliferation and arms control, told the United Nations on October 26 that 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 telling the committee, without naming any specific satellite firms.

Billionaire tech entrepreneur 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."

Musk activated Starlink, a network of more than 2,000 satellites orbiting the Earth and thousands of terminals on the ground, in late February after Internet services were disrupted because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The UN First Committee is one of six main committees at the UN General Assembly and deals with disarmament and international security matters. The First Committee meets every year in October for a 4–5 week session.

Russia has a significant offensive space capability, and so do the United States and China.

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Russia last year launched an anti-satellite missile to destroy one of its own decommissioned satellites.

By RFE/RL

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