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Russia has officially vetoed a US-drafted United Nations resolution that would have prevented an arms race in outer space. This decision came to light during a recent Security Council vote, sparking concerns from US officials about Russia’s intentions. 

“It’s a joke of a resolution,” declared Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who expressed his discontent shortly before the vote. The resolution, aimed at curbing the militarization of space, failed to pass after six weeks of negotiations led by the US and Japan. Despite securing 13 votes in favor, Russia’s veto and China’s abstention prevented its adoption. 

Vassily Nebenzia Scaled

US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood speculated on Russia’s motives: “It makes you wonder whether they’re hiding something.”

Adding to the tension, allegations from Washington have surfaced accusing Moscow of developing a space-based anti-satellite nuclear weapon—an accusation Russia firmly denies. Earlier this year, when reports first circulated, President Vladimir Putin said, “Our position is clear and transparent: We have always been categorically against and are now against the deployment of nuclear weapons in space.”

Digging Deeper:
Earlier this year, Congressman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, asked the White House to declassify information about an unnamed “serious national security threat.” That threat, according to US intelligence agency officials speaking to various news outlets, is a Russian nuclear space-based weapon that would be used to take out US military and civilian communications if a war broke out. 

If true, this would violate the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The agreement states that signees (which include Russia and the United States) are not allowed to “place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit, or on celestial bodies, or station them in outer space in any other manner.”


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