US missile strategy will unleash arms race in space, says Russia

MOSCOW, Jan 19 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/19/2019 11:48:07 AM IST

Russia said on Friday the new US missile defence strategy would unleash a dangerous arms race in space and amounts to a relaunch of the Cold War-era “Star Wars” programme.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled a plan that envisages developing space-based sensors to detect incoming enemy missiles and exploring space-based weapons to shoot down missiles before they can threaten US soil.

A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the strategy as irresponsible and an act of confrontation, but made no mention of Moscow reciprocating with new plans to develop its own nuclear capability. Instead, the ministry called on Washington to think again, backtrack from its plans and engage in talks with Moscow to find agreement on how to manage the world’s nuclear missile arsenal. “The strategy, de facto, gives the green light to the prospect of basing missile strike capabilities in space,” the statement said.

“The implementation of these ideas will inevitably lead to the start of an arms race in space, which will have the most negative consequences for international security and stability,” it said. “We would like to call on the US administration to think again and walk away from this irresponsible attempt to re-launch, on a new and more high-tech basis, the still-remembered Reagan-era ‘Star Wars’ program.”

A renewed nuclear arms race would be a huge financial burden for Russia, whose economy is making a faltering recovery after years of low oil prices, a recession and trade sanctions.

President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating, while still high, has fallen from its peak in 2014, in part because of unhappiness about living standards and a drop in household incomes.

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