US Hints Russia ‘Hiding Something’ After Nuclear Space Weapons Ban Blocked

The U.S. has accused Russia of “hiding something” after Moscow vetoed a United Nations (U.N.) Security Council resolution banning nuclear weapons in space.

Russia blocked the council from adopting the resolution on Wednesday, months after the U.S. raised concerns that Russia may be developing a nuclear weapon designed to attack satellites in space. Russia has denied that such a weapon is in development.

The resolution, which was drafted by the U.S. and Japan, reaffirmed the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and called for U.N. members to commit to contributing “actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and of the prevention of an arms race in outer space.”

Russia was the lone “no” vote, with Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia calling it “a joke of a resolution” prior to exercising his veto power. Of the remaining 14 members of the security council, 13 voted in favor of the resolution, while China abstained.

U.S. Hints Russia Hiding Something Nuclear Space
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield is pictured on March 25. The ambassador on Wednesday suggested that Russia was “hiding” something by vetoing a resolution to ban nuclear weapons in space.


U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield denounced the veto a short time after the resolution was defeated, saying that Russia had “abandoned” efforts to “ensure that no place experiences the horror of nuclear weaponry ever again” and accusing Moscow of having a hidden motive.

“This is not the first time Russia has undermined the global non-proliferation regime,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “Now, Russia has vetoed a straightforward resolution that affirms a legally binding obligation under the Outer Space Treaty that we should not be putting WMD [weapons of mass destruction] into orbit.”

“Why, if you are following the rules, would you not support a resolution that affirms them?” she continued. “What could you possibly be hiding? It’s baffling and it’s a shame. It’s not the outcome the United States wanted, and given the vote count, it’s not the outcome the rest of this council wanted either.”

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood also told reporters before the vote that the prospect of Russia not supporting the resolution “makes you wonder whether they’re hiding something,” according to Reuters.

Newsweek reached out for comment to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the U.N. via email on Wednesday night.

Prior to the veto, Russia and China had proposed an amendment to the resolution that called for a ban on weapons of all types in space, which was not supported by the U.S. and not adopted by the council.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that Moscow has no plans for placing nuclear weapons in space, earlier this month he reportedly ordered his government to allocate funds for the creation of “space nuclear energy” by June 15.