White House: Kirby Issues Ultimatum on Space Nukes

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.05 - 2024 9:11 AM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Amid rising tensions, the U.S. is set to push for a UN Security Council vote on a resolution against nuclear armament in space, a move that tests international commitment to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

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Russia must support the draft resolution of the UN Security Council on the prohibition of placing nuclear weapons in space; otherwise, it will cast doubt on the assurances of Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow does not intend to launch any weapons of mass destruction into orbit.

This statement was made at a briefing on Thursday, April 4, by John Kirby, the White House National Security Communications Advisor.

Global Treaty and Diplomatic Stance

He noted that the US plans to bring the relevant resolution to a vote during a meeting at the UN headquarters in New York early next week.

Kirby added that "the vote should be simple," because the Outer Space Treaty, which came into effect in 1967 and was signed by more than 130 countries, including Russia and China, prohibits the deployment in orbit of "nuclear weapons or any other types of weapons of mass destruction."

"We've heard President Putin say that Russia has no intention of putting nuclear weapons in space. So we look forward to Russia voting for this resolution. There should be no reason not to. And if not, I think that should raise some really legitimate questions for Putin about what his real intentions are," Kirby stated.

A Unified Call for Peaceful Space

As reported by The Guardian on March 18, the US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, mentioned that the US and Japan had prepared a draft resolution of the UN Security Council calling on all countries not to deploy or develop nuclear weapons in space, noting that "the placement of nuclear weapons in orbit around the Earth would be unprecedented, dangerous, and unacceptable."

The corresponding resolution was prepared after the White House confirmed that Russia was developing anti-satellite weapons. As Voice of America reported, John Kirby stated this at a White House briefing on February 15, noting that the weapon currently poses no immediate threat.

"We are not talking about weapons that can be used to attack people or physically destroy them here on earth. However, we are closely monitoring this Russian activity and will continue to take it very seriously," Kirby clarified.

John Kirby declined to comment on whether he was discussing nuclear weapons. He only clarified that such weapons pose a threat to the communication and logistics of all mankind, "including the fact that we have astronauts in low orbit who may also be at risk from anti-satellite actions. So it's about human lives," Kirby added.

Earlier, as reported by Voice of America, the chairman of the intelligence committee of the House of Representatives, Republican congressman Mike Turner, stated that he has information about a serious threat to the national security of the United States. He called on the presidential administration to declassify the information so that the US and its allies could openly discuss how to respond to the threat.

Putin later denied this, noting that Russia has no intention of deploying nuclear weapons in space but is only developing a space capability similar to America's.

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