Russia has declared its readiness to shoot down satellites used by Ukraine. Under the threat of Elon Musk’s system, Planet Labs, Maxar
Russia considers commercial satellites of the United States and its allies used during the war in Ukraine as “legitimate targets” for strike, Konstantin Vorontsov, Deputy Head of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said at a meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly.
Quote: “We are talking about the involvement of the United States and its allies of civil infrastructure components in space, incl. commercial, military purposes. These states apparently do not fully realize that such activities, in fact, constitute indirect participation in armed conflicts. Quasi-civilian infrastructure may turn out to be a “legitimate target” for a retaliatory strike,” Vorontsov said.
▪️Data from commercial satellites helped track the movement of Russian troops in preparation for and during the war. They were used in the investigation of crimes that could be committed by the Russian military. For example, The New York Times studied images of commercial satellites to prove the involvement of the Russian military in the crimes in Bucha. Part of the data was transferred by private satellite companies to the government of Ukraine, wrote The Wall Street Journal.
▪️Billionaire Elon Musk has provided the Ukrainian army with access to data from satellites of the Starlink global system, which allow using high-speed Internet in places that are hard to reach for conventional communication. Starlink equipment is used, in particular, to coordinate artillery strikes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and control drones.
▪️ Satellite images of Planet Labs, Maxar are actively published in the media.
▪️Russia has never attacked the space infrastructure of other states before, but has tested anti-satellite weapons. Western countries condemned these tests, since the cloud of fragments carried a danger to the space programs of other countries and posed a danger to astronauts on the ISS.
Context. The warning to shoot down US commercial satellites comes after a series of statements by senior Ukraine officials that Russia is preparing to use a “dirty” nuclear bomb.