US intelligence: Russia wants to place nuclear weapons in space - ForumDaily
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US Intelligence: Russia wants to place nuclear weapons in space

Russia wants to put nuclear weapons into space. We are talking about the possible use of it against satellites, and not about dropping a bomb on Earth, reports CNN.

Photo: iStock.com/3DSculptor

The United States has new intelligence information about Russia's military potential. The Russian Federation wants to deploy a nuclear anti-satellite system in space.

The information was brought to the attention of Congress and key US allies. While the information is troubling, several senior members of Congress have stressed that it does not pose an immediate threat to the United States or its interests.

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The system is still under development and has not yet been launched into orbit. It is unclear how far Russia has advanced in these technologies. Officials stressed that the threat did not involve weapons that would be used against people on Earth.

There is still a threat

Although members of Congress have downplayed the threat, anti-satellite weapons placed in orbit around the Earth would pose a significant risk to US nuclear command and control satellites. This was stated by Hans Christensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

The US relies on satellites to ensure constant and unfettered control of its nuclear arsenal.

Introducing such a system would mean escalation - the US has made clear that it would respond “very strongly” to an attack on its nuclear command and control satellites.

“This is a new level of threat to the system, nuclear weapons or not,” Christensen said. He noted that even conventional weapons in an orbital ASAT system could pose a significant threat to the United States.

Trouble in Congress

The day before, on February 14, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Representative Mike Turner of Ohio, released a cryptic statement. In it, he announced that the commission had “information relating to a serious threat to national security.”

The letter asked lawmakers to review intelligence stored in secret committee rooms. Turner explained that they involve "destabilizing foreign military capabilities that all congressional policymakers should be aware of."

Lawmakers immediately began descending into the House basement to find out what the intelligence was.

Some left disappointed. One Democratic member with deep national security experience said he had never received this kind of urgent call on national security issues before during his time in Congress. He said the intelligence they saw upon arrival was not urgent enough to warrant Turner's alarm.

Hours later, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson attempted to defuse the imbroglio. He told reporters there was “no cause for alarm” and he had been aware of the intelligence since at least January.

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Rep. Jim Himes, the committee's top Democrat, stressed that "the classified intelligence product that the House Intelligence Committee brought to the attention of members last night is important, but it is not a cause for panic."

Turner, in a statement, called on the Biden administration to declassify "all information related to this threat so that Congress, the administration and our allies can openly discuss the actions needed to respond to this threat."

Meanwhile, in a joint statement, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said they were monitoring the intelligence, but it would be difficult to make it public without revealing sensitive sources and methods.

The furor over the new intelligence comes as a $60 billion aid package to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia has stalled in the House of Representatives. Donald Trump publicly supports members of the Republican Party who opposed this package. Trump said he would encourage Russia to "do whatever the hell they want" with NATO allies that fall short of the alliance's own defense spending targets.

But Turner publicly supported continued funding of the war in Ukraine. Some lawmakers and U.S. officials privately speculate that his efforts to brief lawmakers on the intelligence may be an attempt to shore up flagging support for Ukraine.

According to a 2022 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report on space security, Russia has for years developed counter-space systems designed to neutralize U.S. military and commercial space systems.

Russian doctrine provided for the ability to attack enemy satellites from the ground, air and space. These attacks must be aimed at temporary suppression or complete destruction.

In 2020, Russia tested a space-based anti-satellite weapon with sophisticated orbital capabilities that could have dual uses. It is capable of servicing and inspecting friendly satellites, while also having the ability to attack enemy satellites.

Attempting to launch a nuclear-armed ASAT system into space would be a violation of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which specifically prohibits in orbit “any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction.”

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