Russia Warns US Non-Military Satellites Are “Legitimate Targets”
Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge
(October 27, 2022) — Russia has issued a new warning Thursday aimed at the United States at a moment Moscow-appointed officials appear to be retreating from the southern city of Kherson as it comes under increased Ukrainian shelling.
The Associated Press reports of the new Kremlin warning as follows, “Amid the battles, Russia issued a warning that the United States could be drawn into the conflict, adding it could target Western commercial satellites used for military purposes in support of Ukraine.”
The statement came from the deputy chief of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s arms control and nonproliferation department, Konstantin Vorontsov, who said “Quasi-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for retaliation.”
It also comes soon on the heels of the question of potential Pentagon funding for Elon Musk’s Starlink systems, after SpaceX said it can’t be expected to foot the bill indefinitely.
Ukraine’s forces have called Starlink essential to its ability to repel the Russian advance, as it’s often used in frontline communications where no other comms links exist.
Private assets like Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet constellation, as well as Maxar and Planet Labs earth observation satellites, have proven critical in keeping Ukrainians online and piercing the fog of war.
This is not the first time the Kremlin suggested such a threat. Vorontsov had warned just last month that non-military satellites used by Ukraine “constitute indirect involvement in military conflicts” – hinting that they could eventually be targeted.
Vorontsov didn’t mention Starlink by name in his new statement to the United Nations…
Also on Thursday, Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova charged that Washington is pursuing “thoughtless and mad” escalation.
“The more the US is drawn into supporting the Kyiv regime on the battlefield, the more they risk provoking a direct military confrontation between the biggest nuclear powers fraught with catastrophic consequences,” said Zakharova.
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