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Russia opposed to militarization of space - DM Ivanov

RIA Novosti

23/01/2007 10:24 BANGALORE (India), January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow will continue working to prevent the deployment of offensive weapons in space, the Russian defense minister said Tuesday.

Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, is currently leading a Russian delegation in India.

"Like other space powers, Russia uses space for communication, command and control, and reconnaissance. But at the same time, we have always been against and will continue to be against the deployment of any offensive weapons in space," he said, adding that Russia's position is a matter of principle.

"We will continue to work toward the demilitarization of space," he said.

The minister arrived in India ahead of President Vladimir Putin's visit to the South Asian nation, scheduled for January 25-26.

On Friday, Ivanov denied reports that China launched a ballistic missile January 11 that destroyed a satellite.

CNN, a U.S.-based global television network, earlier said that a U.S. National Security Council spokesman confirmed a report in the magazine American Aviation Week and Space Technology that China destroyed one of its old meteorological satellites with a medium-range ballistic missile.

"I have heard such rather unsubstantiated reports, and I am afraid they are unfounded," Sergei Ivanov said. "There is nothing to comment on. The rumors are largely exaggerated."

However, Japan, Australia and the United States have already expressed concern over the alleged weapons test and the theoretical possibility that China could shoot down satellites operated by other countries.

China Tuesday confirmed the destruction of its satellite, but said it is opposed to an arms race in space.

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