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Russia has no plans to deploy weapons in space - top brass

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - The commander of Russia's space forces said on Friday Russia had no plans to deploy weapons of any kind in space.

Some analysts have suggested that Russia could deploy space weapons as part of measures to counter controversial U.S. plans to build missile shields in Europe.

"We have no such plans," Maj. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko told a news conference in Moscow a day after Russia and the United States signed a new START treaty, which significantly cuts the nuclear arsenals of both countries and for the first time recognizes the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms.

Ostapenko said that the signing of the new treaty would not affect the activities and plans of the Russian Space Forces.

"The plans and tasks set by the commander-in-chief [the president] have not changed and are being developed at a determined pace," the general said.

He added that changes would only be made if "breakthrough technologies emerge that affect the plans and budgets."

As of 2009, there are no known operative orbital weapons systems, but several were developed by the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Development of orbital weaponry was largely halted after the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1979 SALT II Treaty came into force. These agreements prohibit weapons of mass destruction (but not other weapons) being placed in space.

In 2008, Russia and China proposed a draft international treaty to ban the deployment of weapons of any kind in space and to prohibit the use of force against space objects.

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