Russia planning to deploy nuclear weapons in space: US intelligence

  • Intelligence report reveals Russia's plan to deploy nuclear weapon in space, posing a serious national security threat.

Livemint
First Published15 Feb 2024
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by head of the Roscosmos space corporation Yuri Borisov.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by head of the Roscosmos space corporation Yuri Borisov.(via REUTERS)

US White House's Intelligence Committee chairman has warned of a "national security threat" related to Russian nuclear capabilities, according to an ABC News report.

The intelligence report says that Russia wants to put a nuclear weapon into space that would be possibly used against the satellites.

The intelligence came to light after Representative Mike Turner, Republican chairman of the US House of Representatives intelligence committee, issued an unusual and cryptic statement on Wednesday warning of a "serious national security threat."

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"I am requesting that President Biden declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the Administration, and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat," Turner said in the statement.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said he understood that the threat relates to a space-deployed Russian anti-satellite weapon. Such a weapon could pose a major danger to U.S. satellites that transmit billions of bytes of data each hour.

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Earlier, the New York Times reported that the new intelligence was related to Russia’s attempts to develop a space-based antisatellite nuclear weapon.

Turner recently returned from leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to Ukraine, after which he warned his fellow lawmakers that time was running out for Ukraine in its fight against Russian invaders.

Turner has been a voice for stronger US national security, putting him at odds with some Republican colleagues who favor a more isolationist approach. He has called for the renewal of a key US government surveillance tool while some fellow Republicans and liberal Democrats have raised privacy objections.

And he supports continuing US military aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

In recent years the US has seen both China and Russia pursue new ways to jam satellites, intercept their feeds, blind them, shoot them down, and even potentially grab them with a robotic arm to pull them out of their programmed orbits. Due to this rapidly evolving threat in space, the US established Space Force in 2019. One of the key missions of the Space Force is to train troops skilled in detecting and defending against those threats.

In its 2020 Defense Space Strategy, the Pentagon said China and Russia presented the greatest strategic threat in space due to their aggressive development of counter space abilities, and their military doctrine calling for extending conflict to space.

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