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Russian Veto UN Outer Space Arms Race Resolution Raises Suspicions

Russian Veto UN Outer Space Arms Race

Russia vetoes UN resolution on preventing nuclear arms race in outer space

The United States drafted a resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for the prevention of a nuclear arms race in outer space, but Russia vetoed it, leading to accusations from the US that Moscow is developing anti-satellite nuclear weapons. In response, Russia denied the accusations and accused the US of tarnishing its image.

The US and Japan proposed a resolution reaffirming the ban on weapons of mass destruction in outer space, which received support from most countries but was vetoed by Russia. The failed vote highlights the growing importance of discussing outer space security issues, particularly in light of the role of satellites in modern military operations.

Key Concepts

  • The United States drafted a resolution at the UN Security Council to prevent a nuclear arms race in outer space.
  • Russia vetoed the resolution and denied accusations of developing anti-satellite nuclear weapons.
  • The US questioned Russia’s motives for vetoing the resolution.
  • Russia accused the US of tarnishing Moscow’s image and plans to propose its own resolution on peace in space.
  • A draft resolution reaffirming the ban on weapons in outer space was proposed by the US and Japan.
  • The resolution received 13 votes in favor, with China abstaining and Russia vetoing.
  • Russia and China proposed amendments to emphasize preventing weapons deployment in outer space.
  • A recent vote at the UN Security Council on a proposal to ban weapons in outer space ended in a tie.
  • U.S. intelligence officials suspect Russia has a space-based nuclear warhead, but the White House denies its deployment.
  • The importance of satellites in military operations, as seen in the war in Ukraine, highlights the need for discussions on outer space security.

Russia on Wednesday (April 24) vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by the United States calling on all countries to prevent a nuclear arms race in outer space. This move triggered the United States to question whether Moscow was hiding something.

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The vote came after Washington accused Moscow of developing anti-satellite nuclear weapons and putting them into space, a charge Russia denies. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow opposes the deployment of nuclear weapons in space.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council after the vote: “Today’s veto begs the question: Why? If you follow the rules, why don’t you support a resolution that reaffirms those rules? Could it be hiding something? “It’s baffling and shameful,” she said.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, accused Washington of trying to tarnish Moscow’s image and said Russia was quick to do so. Negotiations will begin with members of the Security Council on its draft resolution aimed at maintaining peace in space.

Nebenzia said at the Security Council: “Today our Security Council was once again involved in a dirty scene planned by the United States and Japan. This is a strategy that harms others and benefits ourselves. We have all been deceived.”

Nebenzia also said: “What I want to remind everyone is that the ban on the deployment of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space has been enshrined in the Outer Space Treaty. This ban has been implemented for 57 years, since 1967. Then, in 2024, the United States and Japan, what are the motives behind the idea of ​​reaffirming this ban in 2018? “

This draft resolution was proposed by the United States and Japan. After nearly six weeks of negotiations, the United States and Japan put this draft resolution to a vote. The resolution received 13 votes in favor, with China abstaining and Russia voting veto. This UN text affirms the obligation to abide by the Outer Space Treaty and calls on all countries to “actively contribute to the goals of the peaceful uses of outer space and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.”

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The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits signatories, including Russia and the United States, from placing “any object in orbit around the Earth carrying nuclear weapons or any other type of weapon of mass destruction.”

Before the Security Council voted on the U.S. draft text, Russia and China proposed amendments to it, including calling on all countries to “permanently prevent the deployment of weapons in outer space and the use or threat of use of force from outer space against the Earth or the Earth against targets in outer space.”

In this regard, Fu Cong, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said: “If the United States and Japan are truly committed to promoting the Security Council to constructively discuss outer space security issues, they should pay full attention to the risks of outer space weaponization and the arms race, and they should advocate prohibiting the placement of all types of weapons, including nuclear weapons, in outer space.”

The council voted on the amendment proposed by China and Russia but failed to pass it. The bill received 7 votes in favor, 7 against and 1 abstention.

U.S. intelligence officials believe the Russian capability is a space-based nuclear warhead whose electromagnetic radiation would paralyze a vast satellite network if detonated, according to three people familiar with the matter. But White House national security spokesman John Kirby has said Russia has not yet deployed such weapons.

Governments increasingly view satellites in Earth orbit as critical assets for enabling a range of military capabilities on Earth, and the use of space communications and satellite-connected drones in the war in Ukraine is the latest example of the outsize role space plays in modern warfare.

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