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US warns that Russia could launch nuclear arms into orbit this year

Feb 22, 2024

US intelligence agencies have told their closest European allies that if Russia is going to launch nuclear weapons into orbit, it will most likely do so this year.

This was reported by The New York Times.


At the same time, intelligence agencies suggest that Russia could also launch a harmless "dummy" warhead into orbit to keep the West guessing about its capabilities.

US intelligence officials have issued a series of hasty classified briefings to their NATO and Asian allies as details of the US assessment of Russia's intentions began to leak out.

American intelligence agencies are sharply divided over Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's plans.

On Tuesday, February 20, Putin rejected accusations that he was planning to launch nuclear weapons into orbit, and his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the intelligence warning was fabricated in an attempt to force Congress to authorize more aid to Ukraine.

Putin has made no secret of his interest in modernizing Russia's Cold War-era delivery systems, such as a bomber that can reach the United States and can carry two dozen nuclear weapons. He has touted an entire fleet of new weapons-some still in development-including an unmanned nuclear torpedo, the Poseidon, which would cross the Pacific Ocean without human control and explode on the US West Coast.

However, space weapons will be different. Unlike the rest of Russia's or the United States' arsenal, it would not be designed to hit cities, military installations, or any other place on Earth. Instead, it would be embedded in a satellite capable of destroying swarms of commercial and military satellites orbiting in low Earth orbit, including those like Starlink that are reshaping global communications capabilities.

It was Ukraine's ability to connect its government, military, and leadership via Starlink that played a critical role in the country's survival in the months following the Russian invasion.

According to two senior officials with knowledge of the intelligence assessment that the United States has provided to allies, US officials have said that Putin may believe that the mere threat of large-scale destruction - even if it means blowing up Russia's own satellites - could give his nuclear arsenal a new kind of deterrent.

Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 22/02/2024

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