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US warns allies that Russia could launch nuclear weapon into orbit this year

US warns allies that Russia could launch nuclear weapon into orbit this year Russian dictator Vladimir Putin (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

American intelligence services have informed their closest European allies that if Russia is indeed planning to deploy nuclear weapons in orbit, it is most likely to do so this year, citing The New York Times.

Furthermore, intelligence agencies speculate that Russia may also launch a harmless "dummy" warhead into orbit to keep the West guessing about its capabilities.

American intelligence operatives have conducted a series of hurried classified briefings for their NATO and Asian allies as details of the American assessment of Russia's intentions began to leak.

American intelligence services are sharply divided in their opinion on the plans of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

On Tuesday, February 20, Putin dismissed accusations of intending to deploy nuclear weapons in orbit, while his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, claimed that the intelligence warning was fabricated in an attempt to pressure Congress to sanction increased aid to Ukraine.

Putin does not conceal his interest in modernizing Russian delivery systems from the Cold War era, such as a bomber capable of reaching the United States and carrying two dozen nuclear warheads. He has showcased an entire fleet of new weaponry — some still in development — including the unmanned Poseidon nuclear torpedo, intended to cross the Pacific with no human control and explode on the West Coast of the United States..

However, space weaponry would be different. Unlike the rest of Russia's or America's arsenals, it wouldn't be intended to strike cities, military installations, or any other place on Earth. Instead, it would be embedded in a satellite capable of destroying clusters of commercial and military satellites orbiting nearby on low Earth orbit, including those like Starlink, which are reshaping global communication capabilities.

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

According to two high-ranking officials familiar with the intelligence assessment provided by the US to its allies, American officials have stated that Putin may believe that the mere threat of massive disruption — even if it means exploding Russian satellites — could give his nuclear arsenal a new form of deterrent.

Threat of orbiting nuclear weapons

On February 14, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, declared a serious threat to US national security as Russia plans to deploy nuclear weapons in space, according to intelligence.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed this information, and President Joe Biden instructed his administration to engage in negotiations with Russia regarding the possible testing of nuclear weapons in space.

Later reports suggested that the White House sought to hold secret talks with Russia to dissuade the Kremlin from conducting tests of space-based nuclear weapons.