Weapons in space: UN Security Council rejects Russian text

Weapons in space: UN Security Council rejects Russian text
Weapons in space: UN Security Council rejects Russian text

LThe divided UN Security Council on Monday rejected a Russian draft resolution against the militarization of space, with several countries questioning Moscow’s sincerity after its veto of an American text against nuclear proliferation in the ‘space.

At the end of April, the United States and Japan presented to the Council a draft text calling on all countries to “contribute actively to the achievement of the objective of using space for peaceful purposes and to prevent the race to weapons in space.

The text more specifically called on States “not to develop nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction specifically designed to be placed in orbit around the Earth, installed on celestial bodies or placed, any other way, in outer space.”

But Russia vetoed the draft resolution, which received 13 votes in favor (out of 15) and one abstention (China).

The Russian ambassador then estimated that the text, by focusing on a category of weapons, hid a “lack of interest” on the part of the United States and its allies to “ensure that no weapon whatever they may be are placed in space.

The draft resolution presented by Russia and China, which partly took up the text blocked in April, also called on all member states, “especially those with space capabilities”, to take “urgent measures to forever prevent the placement of weapons in space and the threat or use of force in space.”

With seven votes in favor (notably Russia, China, Algeria), seven against (notably the United States, United Kingdom, France) and one abstention (Switzerland), it did not gather the nine votes necessary to be adopted. A recurring situation for the texts proposed by Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Describing the Russian initiative as “hypocritical”, Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood said Moscow wanted to “distract attention from its dangerous efforts to place a nuclear weapon in orbit”.

He called for being “skeptical” about Russia’s “intentions” with this text, accusing it of having last week placed a satellite in orbit “which would be capable of attacking other satellites”.

“We deplore the method of obstruction used by Russia which clearly only sought to divide the council,” added her French counterpart Nathalie Broadhurst, accusing Russia of not “sincerely” supporting the objectives of the text.

“We are generally satisfied with the result of the vote,” commented the Russian ambassador, believing that it had made it possible to “unmask” the Westerners who “are moving towards the militarization of space” and who according to him are now “isolated” in the Council.

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