Kremlin dismisses U.S. warning about Russian nuclear capability in space

By Thomson Reuters Feb 15, 2024 | 2:17 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Thursday dismissed a warning by the United States about new Russian nuclear capabilities in space, calling it a “malicious fabrication” and a trick by the White House aimed at getting U.S. lawmakers to approve more money to counter Moscow.

The United States has told Congress and allies in Europe about new intelligence related to Russian nuclear capabilities that could pose an international threat, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The new capabilities, related to Russian attempts to develop a space-based weapon, do not pose an urgent threat to the United States, the source said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he would not comment on the substance of the reports until the details were unveiled by the White House. But he said Washington’s warning was clearly an attempt to get Congress to approve more money.

“It is obvious that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to encourage Congress to vote on a bill to allocate money, this is obvious,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS.

“We’ll see what tricks the White House will use,” Peskov said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Moscow’s point man on arms control, accused the United States of “malicious fabrication”, TASS reported.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – something Moscow calls a special military operation – has triggered the biggest confrontation between the West and Russia since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Both Moscow and Washington have warned of the risk of a conflict between NATO and Russia.

Russia and the United States, by far the biggest nuclear powers, have both expressed regret about the steady disintegration of arms-control treaties which sought to slow the Cold War arms race and reduce the risk of nuclear war.

The United States casts China as its biggest competitor and Russia as its biggest nation-state threat, while U.S. President Joe Biden argues that this century will be defined by an existential contest between democracies and autocracies.

Russia says the post-Cold War dominance of the United States is crumbling and that Washington has for years sown chaos across the planet while ignoring the interests of other powers.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Trevelyan)