Comment by the Information and Press Department on Space-based Elements Outlined in the US Missile Defence Review | We have taken note that in the US Missile Defence Review (MDR) published on January 17, a serious emphasis is placed on the formation of a space-based missile defence group, including missile interceptors. Deployment of such systems in space is ostensibly designed to make it easier to destroy different types of missiles in the boost phase over enemy territory. To achieve this, the US Defence Department has been instructed to study the most advanced technology, as well as draw up a time schedule, costs and personnel requirements.

We consider this to be further evidence (on a par with the decision to create space-based armed forces and the allocation of funds for the development of space-based missile defence) of Washington’s real intention to use outer space for combat operations and ensuring US domination in space in the near future. We are deeply disappointed that instead of developing constructive dialogue on the issues of strategic stability and preventing an arms race in space the US preferred to return to the implementation of yet another version of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars programme.

We again urge Washington to display prudence and give up such irresponsible ventures that could have extremely adverse consequences for the entire international community and the United States itself. Obviously, the appearance of weapons in outer space would run counter to the established practice of international cooperation in space exploration and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The potential implementation of US military plans in space will deal a blow at the current system of ensuring the security of space activities, which was shaped by the development of international space law. All of Washington’s previous attempts to ensure military supremacy invariably ended in the escalation of tensions and new rounds of the arms race.

Russia gives priority to space exploration and use exclusively for peaceful purposes and, unlike the United States, does not nurture plans to use attack weapons in orbit. This is proved by many initiatives made by Russia with the support of a solid group of like-minded countries on preventing an arms race in space, including elaborating a binding international instrument on keeping outer space free from any types of weapons based on the Russia-China draft treaty on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects. In particular, we intend to continue active work in the Group of Government Experts on the further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space, which was established by UN General Assembly Resolution 72/250. The group’s final session will take place in Geneva on March 18-29.

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