MOSCOW: What is the space-based nuclear wea­pon that the United States has warned Con­gress and allies in Europe that Russia could use against the West’s satellites?

The exact nature of the weapon — and whether it actually exists — is unclear. But threatening satellites could cause all sorts of mischief — undermining communications, surveillance, intelligence and command and control around the world, including in the nuclear sphere.

The New York Times said the United States does not have the ability to counter such a weapon.

Following is what is known and not known.

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 said on Wednesday.

Sources later said the warning was related to Russian capabilities in space and to satellites.

Citing a current and a former US official, the New York Times reported earlier that the new intelligence was related to Russia’s attempts to develop a space-based anti-satellite nuclear weapon. ABC News also reported that the intelligence had to do with such a capability. Current and former officials said the nuclear weapon was not in orbit.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2024

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