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article imageRussia calls it a 'space apparatus inspector' but is it a weapon?

By Karen Graham     Aug 15, 2018 in Politics
Russia has deployed a suspicious satellite the United States says is part of Moscow's plans to attack orbiting satellites in a future conflict, a State Department official revealed in Geneva on Tuesday.
Space.com is reporting that Yleem Poblete, assistant secretary for arms control, verification and compliance at the U.S. State Department brought up the "very abnormal behavior" of a Russian satellite launched in October 2017 while speaking at a conference on disarmament in Geneva yesterday, August 14, 2018.
Russia has described the satellite in question as a "space apparatus inspector." A Russian delegate at the conference dismissed Poblete's remarks as unfounded and slanderous.
However, referring to the strange movements of the unknown satellite, Poblete stated: "Its behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities."
And even though U.S. intelligence agencies are uncertain of Moscow's intentions in their use of the strange-acting satellite, Poblete said, the satellite is "obviously a very troubling development," according to the Washington Free Beacon.
It hasn't helped matters that back in February at a Geneva conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that "assimilate[ing] new prototypes of weapons [into] space forces’ military units" is a "main task facing the Aerospace Forces Space Troops." And Poblete brought those remarks up yesterday, further adding that the Russian Ministry of Defence has repeatedly affirmed over the past decade that it's developing anti-satellite capabilities.
Putin rolled out a new arsenal of nuclear weapons in a pre-election address that many analysts calle...
Putin rolled out a new arsenal of nuclear weapons in a pre-election address that many analysts called the most aggressive and militaristic speech of his nearly two decades in power
Yuri KADOBNOV, AFP/File
Poblete's concerns mirror the official line coming out of the current administration. The president, U.S. military officials, and high-ranking politicians have repeatedly stressed that the nation's space dominance is under threat, with such reasoning being behind President Trump's demand for a U.S. Space Force.
"The space environment has fundamentally changed in the last generation," Vice President Mike Pence said last week during the official roll-out of the Space Force plan.
"What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial. Today, other nations are seeking to disrupt our space-based systems and challenge American supremacy in space as never before."
This latest news leaves one question unanswered, according to Russia. Why has the U.S. not proposed any amendments to the current Sino-Russian draft treaty? The Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation (FCT) is a twenty-year strategic treaty that was signed by the leaders of the two international powers, Jiang Zemin and Vladimir Putin, on July 16, 2001.
"We are seeing that the American side is raising their serious concerns about Russia, so you would think they ought to be the first to support the Russian initiative. They should be active in working to develop a treaty that would 100 percent satisfy the security interests of the American people," Alexander Deyneko a senior Russian diplomat in Geneva said.
More about Russia, space weapon, space apparatus inspector, Very Abnormal Behavior, Politics