UN Security Council: Russia’s Veto on Arms Race Resolution

Russia has blocked a resolution at the UN Security Council that aimed to prevent an arms race in outer space. The resolution, proposed by the US and Japan, sought to reinforce a principle outlined in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

The US has expressed concerns that Russia is developing a space-based, anti-satellite nuclear weapon.

Russia has stated its strong commitment to the existing treaty.

The draft resolution, presented on Wednesday, urged all countries, especially those with significant space capabilities, to actively support the peaceful use of outer space and to prevent an arms race in that domain.

It also called on nations to adhere to the Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits placing nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction into Earth’s orbit.

Among the 15 members of the council, 13 voted in favor of the resolution. However, Russia, as one of the five permanent members with veto power, voted against it, while China abstained from voting.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, expressed bewilderment at Russia’s decision to veto the resolution.

“It is baffling that Russia has vetoed a straightforward resolution that affirms a legally binding obligation,” she stated. “President Putin himself has publicly stated that Russia has no intention of deploying nuclear weapons in space.

“So today’s veto begs the question, why? Why, if you are following the rules, would you not support a resolution that reaffirms them? What could you possibly be hiding?”

In February, White House spokesperson John Kirby described Russia’s development of a “troubling” new anti-satellite weapon, though he clarified that the weapon was not yet operational.

According to reports from CBS News, the weapon was designed to be space-based and armed with a nuclear capability for targeting satellites.

In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that Moscow was “categorically against” the use of nuclear weapons in space.

The United States relies heavily on satellite communications for military operations, surveillance, civilian applications like GPS systems, and financial transactions, more so than any other potential global adversaries.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan reaffirmed on Wednesday that the US assessment indicated “Russia is developing a new satellite carrying a nuclear device”.

However, details of the intelligence supporting this claim have not been publicly disclosed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasized Russia’s firm commitment to its international legal obligations, including the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, criticized the US-Japanese resolution as a “cynical ploy” with “hidden motives”.

The UN Security Council comprises five permanent members – the US, UK, France, China, and Russia – each possessing a veto, alongside 10 rotating seats held by other UN member states.

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