Published On: Sat, Jul 25th, 2020

Russia threat: British army calls Putin’s anti-satellite weapons test ‘very dangerous’ | World | News

Russia has been accused by US and UK officials of testing a “very dangerous” and mysterious anti-satellite weapon in space. Moscow has hit back at the claims as “propaganda” after the US Space Command warned the threat against US systems was “real, serious and increasing”. A former deputy chief of British defence staff, Sir Simon Mayall, echoed this warning in an interview with the BBC this morning.

Lieutenant General Sir Simon Mayall said he thought the alleged activity was a further example of President Vladimir Putin trying to “up the ante” against the West.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the weapons test was “very dangerous”. 

Sir Simon said: “Putin again, having largely been challenging the West in all sorts of domains since way back in 2006 – Georgia, Ukraine, Libya, you name it – is now trying, some of it I suspect for domestic consumption but also again to up the ante, to create another confrontation area with the West.

“So it is very dangerous because there is always the chance of miscalculation on both sides’ part.”

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He urged the UK to lobby against the development of anti-satellite weapons, adding: “The consequences are there for every nation on Earth of some kind of catastrophic confrontation in space because we are so reliant on satellites, and will continue to be.”

The head of the UK’s Space Directorate, Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, also reacted to the weapons test, marking the first time the Ministry of Defence had called out Russian space testing activity.

He tweeted that “actions of this kind threaten the peaceful use of space”.

The Russian foreign ministry reiterated Moscow’s “commitment to obligations on the non-discriminatory use and study of space with peaceful aims”. 

Mr Whitehorn told the BBC Today programme: “I’m pretty sure from everything I’ve read in the public media about it that it was a kinetic weapon.

“The speed it was travelling at, the way it was launched, the way it went into an orbital path.

“It didn’t actually hit anything – it is quite possible it was a test that went wrong or they decided they didn’t want to hit anything with it.

“The fact is, it was definitely not a satellite itself – it looked to me what the public would call a bullet of some sort.”

The former president of Virgin Galactic said the weapons test seemed to resemble a “bullet” that emerged from a Russian satellite.

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