Russia Threatens to Destroy Western Satellites; Putin speaks of ‘defending the right to exist’

MOSCOW ― Amid the constant attacks of the Russia against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a top Moscow official raised the possibility of Moscow destroying Western commercial satellites that are being used in warfare. At the same time, the president Vladimir Putin escalated the tone against Western countries in a rare public speech on Thursday, 27. Putin accused Western nations, especially United Statesof wanting world domination and using Russia as the tool. According to him, Moscow is just defending its right to exist.

Konstantin Vorontsovdeputy director of the non-proliferation and arms control department at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the First Committee of the United Nations that the United States and its allies are using space to impose their domination, according to Reuters. According to the senior official, commercial satellites from the West could become legitimate targets for Russia if they are involved in the war.

“Near-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for a retaliatory attack,” he said. “We’re talking about the involvement of components of civil space infrastructure, including commercial ones, by the United States and its allies in armed conflict.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin during an annual speech at the Valdai Discussion Club
Russian President Vladimir Putin during an annual speech at the Valdai Discussion Club
Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Sputnik/Kremlin via EFE

He did not name any specific satellites or companies, but recently the businessman Elon Musk Threatened To Cut His Starlink Satellites, Space X, Ukraine Over Financing Difficulty. Musk even sent a letter to the Pentagon asking the government to take over the service that is essential for Ukrainian soldiers to communicate in war. The businessman turned back after the negative repercussion of the speech.

In addition to its use for communication, intelligence services, independent analysts and the press use images provided by satellites to analyze the situation on the battlefield, predict future Russian movements and check possible war crimes in occupied locations.

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The speech came as Russia scales up its attacks on Ukraine’s essential infrastructure, such as energy, using especially Iran’s so-called kamikaze drones. Recent attacks have led Kiev to schedule blackouts to save energy.

Putin raises tone against the West

As the official escalated threats against Western aid to Ukraine, the Russian president delivered a scathing speech against the countries of what he called “the self-styled West.” Putin accused the US and other allies of nato to escalate the conflict in order to dominate other countries.

“They put pressure on our borders, and for what? The aim was to put pressure on Russia and turn Russia into a tool to achieve their goals of domination,” Putin declared during his annual speech at the Valdai Discussion Club, Kremlin-affiliated research institute, which has brought together academics, diplomats and politicians since 2004. “Nobody wants to be a tool. Sanctions are imposed on them […] And in the end, if they don’t succeed, the main objective is to destroy. But that did not happen to Russia and it never will.”

Several times, the president accused NATO of wanting to impose a single culture, power and domination over other countries, in a nod to other nations such as China, Will and regions like Africa and Latin America. In his words, Russia is offering a non-Western society alternative. “Russia is not challenging, but simply defending its right to exist. Russia does not want to be a new power, it simply wants a multipolar world.”

“The West has taken several steps towards climbing and they are always trying to climb. There’s nothing new there. They are fueling the war in Ukraine, organizing politicians around Taiwandestabilizing the world’s food and energy markets,” he said, placing Russia as a friend of other nations he claimed to be “the minorities” of the world.

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“World domination is precisely what the West decided to bet on in this game. But this game is dangerous, dirty and bloody. It contests the sovereignty of peoples and nations, their identity and uniqueness, and has no regard for the interests of other countries.”

Denies use of nuclear weapons

The announcement that Putin would speak at Thursday’s event raised expectations among international observers as it was a rare opportunity to hear the Russian leader outline his worldview without the use of intermediaries and evaluate it, especially at a time when Russia faces difficulties on the battlefield and increases the rhetoric about Ukraine’s use of a ‘dirty bomb’ against its own territorywhich the West points to the risk of opening a gap for a false flag operation.

Putin has denied that he intends to use nuclear bombs or that Moscow is using the dirty bomb as a false flag to escalate the war. When asked whether he would use nuclear weapons, Putin said Russia has never openly said it would use the weapon, it just put on the table that all options are considered in the event of aggression against the Russian state. This state he included Ukraine, as belonging to “one Russia”.

Putin has become the highest echelon to make baseless claims about Ukraine’s use of a dirty bomb. During a virtual meeting with representatives of former Soviet republics, the president said the risk of conflict was high in the region and around the world. “We also know about the plans (from Kiev) to use the so-called dirty bomb as a provocation,” he said.

Western governments dismiss Russian allegations on the issue, warning that they could be a pretext for Russia to use tactical nuclear weapons against the neighboring country.

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“We have no need to do that,” Putin said, in his strongest denial yet of such plans. “It makes no sense to us, either politically or militarily.”

“The only country that used a nuclear weapon against another country was the US. They used two in Japan,” Putin told guests at his speech. He also denied accusations that Russian soldiers were threatening the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. “They are crazy? We control Zaporizhzhia”. And he defended that the IAEA inspect the plants to find the alleged dirty bomb.

The Kremlin also inflated expectations about Putin’s speech. The spokesperson for the Russian Presidency, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Wednesday that Putin’s speech at the Valdai would be an important event. “There will be an extensive speech; there will be a discussion,” she said.

Valdai’s plenary session has traditionally served as one of the widest windows into the Russian president’s view on foreign affairs and geopolitics. It is often a rare moment of impromptu questioning from independent analysts and journalists.

In Ukraine, officials mocked Putin’s speech. Mikhailo Podolakadvisor to the president Volodmyr Zelensky of Ukraine, said the Russian president was accusing the West of what he himself has done, such as violating another country’s sovereignty./AFP, NYT and W.POST

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