NATO chief slams 'reckless' Russian satellite strike

By: AFP      Published: 06:31 PM, 16 Nov, 2021
NATO chief slams 'reckless' Russian satellite strike
NATO chief slams 'reckless' Russian satellite strike

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday slammed as "reckless" Russia's destruction of a satellite that created a debris cloud he said was dangerous to orbiting space stations.  

"This has created a lot of debris, which is now a risk to the International Space Station and also to the Chinese space station -- so this was a reckless act by Russia," Stoltenberg told journalists.

Russia's defence ministry acknowledged destroying one of its satellites during a missile test to bolster its defence capabilities, but denied the move was dangerous. 

US officials on Monday had denounced Moscow for the "irresponsible" test and said they had not been informed in advance.

NASA said the crew aboard the ISS -- currently four Americans, a German and two Russians -- were woken and forced to take shelter in their docked return ships. 

Russia's strike -- the fourth ever to hit a spacecraft from the ground -- reignited concerns about a growing arms race in space, encompassing everything from laser weapons to satellites capable of shunting others out of orbit.

Stoltenberg said it was a concern as it showed Moscow was working on weapons capable of striking critical infrastructure. 

"It demonstrates that Russia is now developing new weapon systems that can shoot down satellites, can destroy important space capabilities for basic infrastructure on Earth like communications, like navigation, or like early warning of missile launches," he said.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.