What is really behind the US accusations that Russia has launched an armed satellite

By Thomas Röper.

A few days ago, British and American military officials reported that Russia allegedly undertook a weapons test in space. What is behind these reports?

The subject must be seen in a broader context, as can be read between the lines in the media. It is about the NEW START Treaty. Remember: The NEW-START treaty is the last still valid disarmament treaty between the USA and Russia, information about the disarmament treaties can be found in the linked article.

The START Treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which stipulated a limitation of nuclear warheads of the superpowers, came into force in 1991. It was followed by the START II Treaty in 1993 and then the NEW START Treaty in 2010. These treaties, which were always concluded for a limited period of time, regulated the number of nuclear warheads of the two nuclear powers and ensured that today, compared to the Cold War, there are far less of these weapons.

But the current NEW START treaty expires in February 2021. Russia has repeatedly called for an extension of the treaty, Putin has publicly stated several times that if the USA sends the treaty for extension, he would sign it immediately. At the annual press conference in December 2019 Putin said for example:

“We are prepared to simply extend the existing NEW START agreement until the end of next year, simply extend the valid contract. When they send us the contract by mail tomorrow, we are ready to sign it and send it back to Washington, then the President only needs to sign it if he is ready to do so. But so far there has been no response to all our proposals. And when NEW START expires, there will be nothing left in the world to stop an arms race. And I think that’s a bad thing.”

USA and China

The problem is that the US may be prepared in principle to extend the treaty, but they are making a demand that is unfulfillable and has nothing to do with Russia: they want China to join the treaty. A detailed analysis of the issue can be found in the linked article.

China rejects this. China argues that it has far too few nuclear warheads to join a treaty between the two leading nuclear powers. According to the Swedish institute SIPRI, which specialises in armaments issues, there are currently a total of 13,400 nuclear warheads in the world, 6,375 of which belong to Russia and 5,800 to the USA. China has “only” 320 warheads.

So China’s position is quite understandable, because China argues that the USA and Russia should first disarm to the Chinese level before one can talk about limiting Chinese nuclear bombs. On top of that, one would then also have to include, for example, Great Britain and France in the treaty, which each have over 200 atomic bombs.

Negotiations between Russia and the USA are currently in progress regarding the treaty. But they are at a standstill, because the USA is demanding that China should participate in them. To this end, very crude methods of influencing the population are also being used. Even the otherwise US-minded Spiegel, which wrote about it, thought that was too much:


“The doors to the negotiating room in the Palais Niederösterreich were still open when MP Billingslea sent a photo of the negotiating table to the world via Twitter. It showed large Chinese flags in front of empty chairs. In the background: American and Russian pennants. 
Billingslea had written a heavy comment on this: “Vienna talks about to start. China is a no-show. Beijing still hiding behind #GreatWallofSecrecy on its crash nuclear build-up, and so many other things. We will proceed with #Russia, notwithstanding.”“

The picture showed Washington’s wishes: It would like China to sit at the table. But it in no way reflected the reality in Vienna: the talks were from the outset designed as bilateral talks between Moscow and Washington, and Beijing’s participation was never in prospect. The Chinese pennants were therefore not on the table at all during the talks, as other photos show.

Weapons in space

Last year, the USA founded a new kind of weapon, the US Space Command. The militarization of space is, as is well known, controversial, but the USA has now officially begun to do so and of course the “stupid public” needs a pretext for this further escalation in the international arms race. Incidentally, in the run-up to the decision, the German government lied to the German public about it, as I have shown here with evidence. But that did not bother the “quality media” and they did not report on it.

The pretext that the USA needs has now been found, because Russia has launched a new satellite that is to serve as a pretext. Der Spiegel reported a few days ago:


“London and Washington accuse Russia of having carried out weapons tests in space. According to the report, Russia is said to have fired a projectile from a satellite carrying the traits of a weapon, according to a statement by the British Ministry of Defence on Thursday. Actions such as these threaten the peaceful use of space and risk causing debris that poses a threat to satellites and space systems on which the world depends,” said Harvey Smyth, director of the space department in the British Ministry of Defence. Moscow should refrain from further testing.”

It sounds like Russia has attacked a satellite in space during a test and caused debris. The problem with that is, it just sounds like that, nobody has actually accused Russia of that. The British and the US claim – without providing any proof – that the Russian satellite could attack other satellites. But they formulate it in such a way that it gives the not too attentive reader the impression that they have caused debris. It is pure propaganda without any proof.

The USA is officially building a space force to do exactly what they are now accusing Russia of without any proof. The USA is thus creating a justification for its own actions. Unlike the USA, Russia has always spoken out against weapons in space.

How the two issues are connected

The USA is now using this accusation against Russia as an opportunity to put the topic of space on the agenda of the ongoing talks in Austria, as one could also read in the quoted Spiegel article:


“The US chief negotiator for disarmament issues, Marshall Billingslea, described the weapons test as “unacceptable”. It is a “serious matter” that must be addressed in the disarmament negotiations with Moscow in Vienna next week, he wrote on Twitter.

So the US accusations are not about weapons in space. The US wants to have another pretext to justify a possible failure of the talks in Austria. The talks are about the NEW START treaty and the number of nuclear weapons and carrier systems of the two superpowers. What do satellites that cannot carry nuclear weapons have to do with this?

If the USA wanted to limit the arming of space, it could have convened a disarmament conference a long time ago. Russia, which is opposed to arming space, would have liked to take part in it. Instead, however, the USA unilaterally founded its space weapons force.

These games of the USA with global security are highly dangerous, but allegedly critical “quality media” such as Der Spiegel would rather quote the unsubstantiated accusations of the USA than deal with the real issue.


  1. https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2019/die-friedens-luegen/?doing_wp_cron=1596493293.4079461097717285156250

  2. https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2019/jahrespressekonferenz-putin-im-o-ton-ueber-die-usa-die-ukraine-die-eu-sanktionen-und-abruestung/

  3. https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2019/new-start-vertrag-ist-der-letzte-bestehende-atomare-abruestungsvertrag-noch-zu-retten/

  4. https://www.icanw.de/fakten/weltweite-atomwaffen/

  5. https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/us-diplomat-trifft-russische-unterhaendler-und-stellt-china-fahnen-auf-den-tisch-a-ce1b445c-142b-4b19-ae32-2f65ab524425

  6. https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2019/wettruesten-im-weltraum-wie-die-bundesregierung-die-oeffentlichkeit-vor-einer-woche-belogen-hat/

  7. https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/usa-und-grossbritannien-alarmiert-ueber-russlands-waffentests-im-weltraum-a-7cf5ef09-411b-43de-86eb-24e80a493675

  8. https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2019/das-russische-aussenministerium-ueber-die-nato-plaene-zur-militarisierung-des-weltraums/


Thanks to the author for the right to publish.


This article first appeared on 30.07.2020 at Anti-Spiegel.ru


Picture source: FotograFFF / shutterstock

Picture reference: Space transport rocket


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