WASHINGTON/KIEV: The United States will respond in an “appropriate” way to any Russian attack against US commercial satellites, the White House said on Thursday after a Russian official suggested they could become legitimate targets in space.
“Any attack on US infrastructure will be met with an appropriate response in an appropriate way,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. The United States will “hold Russia accountable for any such attack, should it occur.”
Kirby was responding to comments by a Russian foreign ministry official, Konstantin Vorontsov, at the United Nations on Wednesday that use of commercial satellites “in outer space for military purposes” by Western countries is an “extremely dangerous trend.”
“These states do not realise that such actions in fact constitute indirect participation in military conflicts,” Vorontsov said. “Quasi-civilian infrastructure may become a legitimate target for retaliation.”
The Russian official did not specify what commercial satellites he meant but Starlink satellites deployed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company are playing a major role in communications for the Ukrainian military fighting Russia’s attack.
Kirby said “the only thing that’s provocative right now and dangerous is Russia’s war in Ukraine and the manner which they’re prosecuting that war.”
The United States will stop developing nuclear-armed sea launched cruise missiles, Pentagon documents released on Thursday said, despite senior military officials publicly recommending keeping it.
The decision to cancel the submarine-launched cruise missile could help President Joe Biden address calls from fellow Democrats to scale back America’s nuclear arsenal without sacrificing major components of its nuclear “triad” of nuclear-tipped ground-based inter-continental ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable bomber aircraft and submarine-launched nuclear arms.
However, it is unclear if Congress, which could come under Republican control after next month’s elections, will resist the efforts to scrap it.
The Biden administration released three documents on Thursday: the National Defence Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review and missile Defence Review. Together, they laid out the military’s priorities for the coming years and underscored that Washington would maintain “a very high bar for nuclear employment.”
Under President Donald Trump’s administration, the military made a decision in 2018 to develop a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile, with a focus on the threat from Russia.
But the Biden administration said in its review the sea-launched cruise missile programme (SLCM-N) was unnecessary and would be cancelled because the United States already had the “means to deter limited nuclear use.”
UKRAINE MILITARY BUDGET
Ukraine will increase its military spending by the equivalent of more than $10 billion by the end of the year under an amended budget signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday.
The Defence Ministry will receive the lion’s share of the increase while the rest will be divided among other Ukrainian security agencies.
Ukrainian defence spending has increased tenfold as a result of the Russian attack and ongoing war, according to official figures.
“In order to cover the additional expenditure from the general state budget, the domestic debt was increased and the maximum amount of state debt was raised accordingly through December 31, 2022,” said the parliamentary administration in Kiev.
In July, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal put monthly spending at 130 billion hryvnia ($3.5 billion). Ukraine has received additional military equipment and supplies worth billions of dollars from Western supporters.
So far, the Ukrainian government has budgeted the equivalent of around $30 billion for the coming year. — AFP/dpa
Source : OmanObserver