Russia Dismisses U.S. Space Nuke Warning as ‘Malicious Fabrication’

Russia Nuclear
Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday dismissed the U.S. warning about Russia developing nuclear capabilities in space as a hoax intended to panic Congress into spending more money on Ukraine.

“It is obvious that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to encourage Congress to vote on a bill to allocate money; this is obvious,” Peskov said at a press briefing.

“We’ll see what tricks the White House will use,” he sneered.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced the White House warning as a “malicious fabrication.”

“We have seen these reports. This is part of a trend that has been there for a decade, with the Americans making up malicious stories and ascribing to us some actions and intentions that they don’t like,” Ryabkov told Russia’s state-controlled Tass media outlet.

“In working with them, we keep telling them that groundless allegations of any kind will get no reaction from us. If they make some claims, they should at least provide evidence,” Ryabkov said of the Kremlin’s dealings with the Biden administration.

Ryabkov, like Peksov, refused to discuss the White House claim in depth until he received more details.

“So we’ll see how things will unfold in this regard. So far, we are just monitoring what is being said there, on the matter, that is, the official versions,” he said.

The story Ryabkov and Peskov were responding to began when Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a vague warning on Wednesday about a “serious national security threat” and asked President Joe Biden to declassify all information pertaining to it:

Anonymous U.S. officials told CBS News and other media outlets that Turner was referring to Russia “developing a nuclear-capable weapon that could take down U.S. satellites.” These officials said there was no evidence Russia had deployed such a weapon, but it is coming close to having nuclear capability in space.

One of the U.S. officials who spoke to CBS News suggested “a series of Russian space launches known as Cosmos, many of which carry classified Ministry of Defense payloads,” could be part of the orbital weapon program.

Lawmakers from both parties who were briefed on Turner’s warning said the situation was a “serious issue” but not an “immediate crisis” or reason for “panic.”

“We just want to assure everyone steady hands are at the wheel. We’re working on it, and there’s no need for alarm,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA).

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan refused to discuss details of the intelligence warning with the press on Wednesday. Sullivan said he was a “bit surprised” when Turner made his public statement because he had already offered to give congressional leaders a “personal briefing” on the Russian threat.

Mick Mulvaney, former chief of staff for former President Donald Trump, also said he was “absolutely stunned” by Turner’s public announcement.

“There’s no reason for Mike Turner to do this. If it was really serious, and it’s a clear and present danger, to use a legal term, then you certainly wouldn’t want it to be public,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“That’s the only thing that seems to tie up with the facts so far, that Mike Turner wants more money for Ukraine, and he’s decided to do this to scare people into voting for it,” said Mulvaney, offering essentially the same theory as Peskov and Ryabkov.

The UK Guardian on Wednesday spoke to several space and nuclear scientists who were skeptical of Turner’s warning, but nuclear information director Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists said there could be a plausible threat on the horizon.

“Russia has been conducting several experiments with maneuvering satellites that might be designed to sabotage other satellites,” Kristensen noted.

“The issue is not so much about an increased nuclear weapons threat, per se, but that it would increase the threat against other countries’ space-based nuclear command and control assets. It would be highly destabilizing,” he said.


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