Russian Space Talks Go Nowhere Amid Rising Tensions

Russian Space Talks Go Nowhere Amid Rising Tensions

The United States and Russia held their first talks regarding space militarization since 2013 on Monday, ending without any public progress, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The talks, which took place in Vienna, were intended to decrease tension and increase cooperation between the two world powers in their atmospheric pursuits. Competing views of how to regulate international conduct in space, however, left the talks without a mutually agreed-upon foundation.

Neither Moscow nor Washington released public statements regarding the talks.

The United States prefers to administer voluntary norms in space relations, while the Russians want a formal treaty against deploying weapons in space. 

Despite Moscow’s insistence on codifying a stance against space-based weaponry, Russia launched its own anti-satellite weapon into orbit last week. The Kremlin denies allegations that it did so.

As tensions with the United States on space issues have escalated, Moscow now looks to Beijing to team up on spaceflight. Both authoritarian regimes have been active in increasing the capabilities of their space missions with new satellites, rovers, and space-based weaponry. With few treaty laws or norms against either nation enforced, the Pentagon worries about the security implications of new competition in space.

“China and Russia present the greatest strategic threat due to their development, testing, and deployment of counterspace capabilities and their associated military doctrine for employment in conflict extending to space,” the June 2020 Defense Space Strategy Summary reads“DoD will be prepared to protect and defend U.S. and, as directed, allied, partner, and commercial space capabilities and to deter and defeat adversary hostile use of space.”

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